East Anglia’s bridges won’t fail like Genoa, motorists reassured – including A14 Orwell Bridge in Ipswich

The Orwell Bridge is run by Highways England Picture: ARCHANT

The Orwell Bridge is run by Highways England Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Highways England has reassured motorists in Suffolk that its bridges are safe – and confirmed their designs are different to those in the Genoa disaster in Italy.

A portion of the Morandi bridge in Genoa collapsed on Tuesday – causing an estimated 39 deaths, according to local sources.

The reason behind the bridge collapse is not yet clear, but Highways England has confirmed that none of its 21,000 structures nationally are similar in design.

Bosses have now said any lessons that can be learnt from Genoa will be learnt – and any changes can be made if needed.

Highways engineer Mike Wilson said: “Our deepest sympathies are with everyone involved in the tragic bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy.

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“We can reassure drivers that safety is and always will be our top priority.

Chiefs confirmed that Highways England does not have any bridges in East Anglia that are suspension or cable-stayed.

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General inspections take place every two years, while more detailed assessments are carried out every six years.

The last major inspection of the Orwell Bridge in Ipswich took place last year, and was followed by a series of repairs and resurfacing during the winter.

Ongoing assessments are continuing to take place over potential measures to lessen the impact of high winds, which can prompt the closure of that portion of the A14.

“We have detailed design standards and quality control processes to ensure bridges are designed and constructed to provide safe and comfortable journeys for road users,” Mr Wilson added.

“This is supported by a thorough and regular regime for inspecting all structures, including bridges, on England’s motorways and major A roads and taking any necessary action to help ensure they stay safe.

“A very small proportion of our structures are suspension or cable stayed bridges but none of them are of similar construction to the one in Genoa.

He said: “We’re committed to continually improving our network to make every journey the safest it can be.

“So when the causes of the Genoa bridge collapse have been investigated and reported, we will carefully assess any lessons to be learnt and will bring in any required changes to standards and processes.”

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