Change of wind direction could keep Orwell Bridge open this weekend

PUBLISHED: 14:40 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:17 08 February 2019

The A14 Orwell Bridge near Ipswich has re-opened to traffic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The A14 Orwell Bridge near Ipswich has re-opened to traffic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The second wave of Storm Erik is expected to hit Suffolk this weekend and winds are expected to be even stronger than we have seen today.

This has lead to renewed fears the Orwell Bridge could close.

Highways England said this morning that the situation was “borderline” and that they were close to having to shut the A14 between Wherstead and Nacton, diverting traffic through Ipswich rather than over the bridge.

The storm threat remains in place over the weekend but it is thought there could be a change in wind direction, which would make the bridge less dangerous.

The Met Office has forecasted winds of up to 55mph, however, if these winds are head-on to traffic, rather than cross-winds, the bridge will not have to close.

A spokesman for Highways England said it is “likely” to stay open over the coming days.

He said: “I think that we will be alright. We expect the wind to change direction tomorrow which means that, even though the wind is going to be stronger, the bridge is still likely to stay open.

“The gales will now be a head-wind for cars driving on the bridge instead of a cross-wind, which is more dangerous as it could topple high-sided vehicles. Vehicles can drive safely with head-winds of a much higher speed.

“We have weather stations on the bridge which give us information every 10 minutes so we will be using that data throughout to inform our decision.”

Storm Erik hit Suffolk hard this morning bringing high winds and heavy rain to the region.

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