Ipswich: Major routes closed until tomorrow as water main leak adds to storm woe

Commercial Road and Grafton Way are still closed due to a burst water main

Commercial Road and Grafton Way are still closed due to a burst water main - Credit: Archant

The closure of two main roads in Ipswich led to traffic chaos in the town centre for a second day yesterday – and the disruption will continue into today.

Commercial Road and part of Grafton Way were both closed by police yesterday afternoon due to a burst water main, resulting in rush hour gridlock.

Leakage from the rising main pipe, which transports used water to treatment works, was reported to Suffolk police and Anglian Water at around 2.30pm yesterday.

Engineers from the water company had identified the source of the problem last night and repair work began however they were unable to say exactly how long it would take to fix.

An Anglian water spokesman estimated that both roads would remain cordoned off until tomorrow morning, leaving them closed all day today.

“We are very, very sorry for the disruption, we know it’s not an ideal location or time but we are doing what we can to get this fixed and trying to keep disruption to a minimum,” he said.

Engineers worked overnight last night to contain and clean up the leakage and repair damage and the eastbound lane of traffic was opened in Grafton Way.

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The burst pipe is the latest disruption after Monday’s ferocious storm which resulted in gridlock in and around Ipswich.

Suspension of public transport and the closure of Orwell Bridge saw an increase of traffic converging on the town which was further compounded by the closure of College Street and Key Street.

The streets – an important element of the town’s inner ring road – remained shut until yesterday afternoon as Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council worked out how to deal with some potentially dangerous scaffolding on the former Burton’s offices.

The county – responsible for roads – called in the borough’s building control officers to work out whether the scaffolding had been damaged by Monday’s storms.

Eventually both authorities agreed that the road would be safe to reopen at about 3pm on Tuesday.

Motorists reported spending several hours trying to get from one side of Ipswich to the other.