Big storm: Orwell Bridge reopened in both directions as St Jude’s storm begins to subside


- Credit: Archant

The A14 across the Orwell Bridge has been reopened to all traffic.

Closed this morning because of the high winds the bridge was reopened at 11.50am.

Motorists wanting to cross the river had been subjected to a lengthy diversion using the Colchester Road bypass, Heath Road and Felixstowe Road.

This caused misery for many road users as high volumes of traffic, including large articulated lorries, tried to negotiate the route.

Many people were stuck in the resulting gridlock for several hours with little to no movement once the morning rush hour began.

There were also issues with several sets of traffic lights throughout the town, including at the Copdock Interchange.

Suffolk police frequently advised people not to travel unless absolutely necessary to try and avoid compounding the problems caused by the congestion along with the risks associated with driving in the high winds.

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Many reports of fallen trees were received by the constabulary along with incidents relating to fallen telephone lines and power cables.

A Highways Agency spokesperson said: “The A14 Orwell Bridge was closed for safety reasons this morning due to the high wind speeds in the area. The bridge reopened at approximately 11.50am.”

In response to a question about the suitability of the diversion and whether it was able to cope with the volume of traffic experienced the spokesperson said: “Diversion routes need to be capable of handling trunk road traffic. As well as cars, trunk roads such as the A14 are used by HGVs and other large or heavy vehicles.

“Height and weight restrictions need to be carefully considered when planning diversion routes to avoid sending oversize vehicles down unsuitable or narrow roads.

“We work closely with local authorities to agree the most suitable diversion route for all vehicles.”