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Update: Orwell Bridge reopens amid traffic tailbacks of up to half an hour

PUBLISHED: 09:49 13 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:48 14 February 2014

Traffic backs up on Colchester Road in Ipswich due to Orwell Bridge's closure on Wednesday.

Traffic backs up on Colchester Road in Ipswich due to Orwell Bridge's closure on Wednesday.

The Orwell Bridge has reopened as this afternoon’s severe weather begins to subside.

"Felixstowe Road and Nacton Road are at a stand still....and it is not even rush hour yet."

Chris Wright, via Facebook

The Highways Agency reopened the bridge, on the A14 near Ipswich, at 5.15pm following more than three hours of closure in response to the strong winds.

Despite diversions via the A1156, A1189 and A1214, tailbacks of more than half an hour have been reported - with worse expected as the peak travel hour begins.

Forecasters have said winds could reach up to 60mph along the coast but the worst of the weather had been expected to finish by about 5pm.

The Highways Agency has said the closure will remain in place until the high winds have subsided.

A spokesman said: “The Highways Agency will continue to monitor wind speeds closely and will reopen the bridge as soon as it is safe to do so.

“Drivers planning to travel during the current severe weather are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and check the latest weather and traffic conditions along the route.”

For more on the Orwell Bridge closures, click here

All the latest updates on whether Highways England plans to close the Orwell Bridge.

High winds have led to train service cancellations including on the mainline from Suffolk and Essex to London and local routes between Sudbury and Marks Tey.

Shane and Zoe Coldron were Chantry School childhood sweethearts. But unexpectedly Zoe, 44, collapsed and died last week. Her husband Shane has spoken about how the family is coping, plus the overwhelming support he has received.

High winds have brought down overhead power cables leaving homes in many Suffolk and Essex communities without electricity.

Several schools in Suffolk are to remain closed or open later this morning amid high winds.

A damning report into the failings of a mental health facility in Essex plunged it into special measures for the second time – prompting bosses to close the service.

Ipswich parks are to open late as a result of the high winds this morning.

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