More bridge closure chaos fears

THE next overnight closures of the bascule bridge in Lowestoft will coincide with roadworks on the main diversion route, it has emerged.

THE next overnight closures of the bascule bridge in Lowestoft will coincide with roadworks on the main diversion route, it has emerged.

Traffic chiefs last night urged motorists to avoid using their cars during the closures, which will affect the bascule bridge and southbound traffic on Bridge Road, in Oulton Broad.

The bridge closures will start five days after the Bridge Road work and officials from the Highways Agency have pledged to monitor traffic flows between those periods to check if extra traffic congestion is caused.

The bascule bridge will be closed between 8am and 6am on September 20, 22, 23, 24 and 25 while Bridge Road will be shut to southbound traffic for six weeks from Monday.


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Peter Smith, area performance manager for the Highways Agency, said: “Starting bascule work on Saturday, September 20 will allow a week for traffic to settle during the Suffolk County Council works and enable the Highways Agency to monitor safety and ensure no extra congestion is created when the bridge closures commence.

“We would like to apologise for the further disruption caused to the residents and businesses of Lowestoft and assure them that we are striving to reduce this as far as possible. We are confident these closures should see and end to the remaining works.”

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The Highways Agency and contractor Bosch Rexroth have come under fire for the £2.3m bascule bridge repair project, which should have been completed before Christmas, but has been beset by major delays.

The agency says further overnight closures will be needed in November, although dates and times for this work have yet to be finalised.

Suffolk County Council's work in Oulton Broad will involve the widening of the footway in Bridge Road, between the railway bridge and the crossing near Saltwater Way to allow for shared pedestrian and cycle use. At the same time, improvements to the Flying Dutchman crossing will be made, with the pedestrian island in Bridge Road being repositioned. Toucan crossings will replace existing signals at both sites.

Southbound traffic, including motorists unable to use the bascule bridge, will be diverted along Victoria Road and Tom Crisp Way.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard has been one of the main critics of the delayed project, but said he had been reassured by the Highways Agency's pledge to monitor traffic levels and believed the fact the bridge closures were taking place overnight meant disruption would be reduced.

n For further information, call the Highways Agency information line on 08457 50 40 30 or visit www.highways.gov.uk.

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