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Ipswich: Highways Agency announce review of Orwell Bridge safety due to number of suicides

15:18 26 June 2014

The Orwell Bridge

The Orwell Bridge

(c) copyright

The Highways Agency has announced a review into the number of suicides at the Orwell Bridge.


The review comes after the fortieth suicide in the bridge’s 32 year history took place in April. It is expected to be completed within a year.

MPs Therese Coffey and Ben Gummer welcomed the announcement. Both MPs sent a joint letter to the regional director of the Highways Agency calling for action to prevent more deaths.

Ms Coffey said: “Every suicide is a real tragedy, though not always avoidable, and I’m pleased the Highways Agency is looking into ways it can help prevent this.

“As the bridge is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in area of Special Scientific Interest, I recognise the limitations on physical barriers they could install but I urge them to consider other solutions quickly.

“The review is promised by March 2015, but it would be assuring if this were brought forward.

Mr Gummer said: “I am pleased that we shall have a review. I hope that the Highways Agency will be able to conclude it before March next year, given the pressing need to do something to stop the sad repetition of tragedies involving the bridge.”

The review is scheduled for completion by the end of March 2015.



  • No one is blaming the Bridge but as an option it is far too easy and accessible. For many years campaigners have been calling for something to be done to stop suicides at the Golden Gate Bridge, today the funding for nets was unanimously agreed by the board. There is scientific research that proves preventing these suicides does not lead to "them" going elsewhere. One example is the Ellington Street Bridge in Washington D.C where after barriers were erected suicides dropped from 25 in 7 years to 1 in the 5 years since. Whilst this isn't the only solution for people who are feeling this way it will go a long way to reducing the risk of success before help can be found.

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    Saturday, June 28, 2014

  • you cannot blame a bridge for people wanting to kill themselves.the pressure of todays living is to blame.

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    Friday, June 27, 2014

  • If people want to end their lives they will closing this option will just force them into another. Wouldn't you want those views to be your last rather than four walls?

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • It makes me laugh AONB and SSI... yet just over 30 years ago someone built this massive CONCRETE BRIDGE across it and thousands of cars and lorries travel over it 247 and have done so for over 3 decades causing significant noise. It quickly became a landmark. Can really any anti-suicide solutions be deemed a hindrance on the landscape and affect the local wildlife? Its no more of a problem than the graffiti on the bridge which has never been removed for over a year... somehow is exempt from the "cleaner Ipswich" campaign.

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Concerned of Suffolk - you cannot just pay a company to carry out fencing of a bridge within a period of weeks. A safe and agreeable design would need to be agreed upon - if a fence was the right solution. The bridge is in an area of outstanding beauty which places all kinds of restrictions on what can be proposed. Also there are programmes of work that need to be organised years in advance to schedule and prioritise works. You cant shoe horn works in. moreover, I doubt this is a particularly high priority for the HA and so that is a factor.

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • I agree that a fence is the solution and could be put up quite quickly. I cycle over the bridge most days and have stopped one lady from getting on the bridge by phoning the police and staying with her until they arrived. Hope something is sorted soon to stop more lives been lost and more importantly the distress caused to the people that witness it and have to deal with the aftermath.

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    Scooter boy

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • Therese Coffey milk two sugars and Ben I haven't got a clue Gummer are both a waste of space and money. Common sense says fence. Job done. Half a year saved, and most important more lives saved.

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    Ipswich Man

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • What has this bridge being situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty got to do with saving a life, what is more important. More and more we are being told that we can't do anything in a so called Area Of Outstanding Beauty, look at what is happening at Bentwaters to prove my point.

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    Thursday, June 26, 2014

  • This article just shows how useless our local MP is if he is happy for the pressing review to be concluded by March next year. How long does it flipping take to chuck out tendors asking people to design a barrierfence which can be easily bolted to a concrete wall that already exists. There's companies out there who could do this tomorrow not in 9 months time. No wonder all our money gets wasted by these stupid Government run agencies sitting around having meetings over & over. Look back about three years & I suggested on here what sort of fence needs to be erected.

    Report this comment

    Concerned of Suffolk

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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