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Ipswich/Suffolk: Summit to look at diversions when A14 and Orwell Bridge are forced to close

PUBLISHED: 12:21 28 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:25 28 February 2014

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner

Archant

Police and highways authorities are to hold a summit meeting next week to look at ways of easing chronic congestion in the Ipswich area when the A14 – especially the Orwell Bridge – is closed.

"The other week when the bridge was shut I got stuck on Lower Road between Henley Road and Westerfield Road for 45 minutes, as did hundreds of others as we had no choice because there were limited other ways."

Ed Watts, web commenter

There have been several occasions over recent years when the closure of the bridge has led to near gridlock on roads through the town – and has also caused problems in villages as drivers attempt to find alternative routes to avoid problems.

Now Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore has joined the county’s cabinet member for transport, Graham Newman, to host the meeting at the police headquarters at Martlesham next Thursday.

They have invited representatives of business organisations, ports, the NFU and the Highways Agency to look at ways of easing the problems.

Mr Passmore said: “We have to have a strategy that can be put into place when there is a closure on the A14, especially on the Orwell Bridge.

“The problem is there is no obvious alternative route, and you get people relying on their sat navs to find a different way. That’s why we ended up with ridiculous situation of lorries trying to get through Coddenham last week.”

It was vital that alternative routes should be adequately policed. Mr Passmore was pleased the Road Haulage Association would be represented – but felt the Highways Agency still needed to be more responsive.

“The other day the A14 was closed near Stowmarket and it took the Highways Agency’s contractors nearly two hours to reach the scene to start work. That is totally unacceptable,” he said.

Anyone wishing to have their say on what should be discussed at the meeting can take part by visiting the website www.suffolk-pcc.gov.uk

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