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Orwell Bridge closure on second day running sparks anger

PUBLISHED: 20:15 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 20:15 14 January 2020

The Orwell Bridge has been reopened by Highways England  Picture: MICK WEBB

The Orwell Bridge has been reopened by Highways England Picture: MICK WEBB

capelman

The closure of the Orwell Bridge for the second time in as many days has sparked anger after roads in Ipswich became clogged by traffic as motorists tried to avoid the A14.

Politicians have also joined the fray, speaking of their frustration surrounding the closure and have called for a delayed report on the aerodynamics of the Orwell Bridge to be released.

The paper, which is being carried out in partnership between Highways England and City University of London, was originally meant to be submitted to Ipswich Borough Council before the new year.

However, despite confirmation that it has been completed council officers are still yet to lay eyes onto the important document.

Many people took to social media to pose questions surrounding the report, also asking why high sided vehicles cannot be banned during high winds, allowing smaller vehicles to still use the bridge.

One poster said: "I don't understand why they don't just stop HGVs going on the bridge in high winds. They need to release this report so that something can be done."

Another wrote: "There are three questions that need answering now. Why was the bridge designed to be unusable in high winds when the vast majority of others are not? Why hasn't it been improved yet? And who is accountable for these huge failures?"

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt also spoke of his frustration at the closures.

He said: "These closures have a huge impact on my constituents and they are a huge disruption for the town.

As soon as this issue is resolved, the better. I strongly believe that these can all be avoided.

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"When I first heard the report was going to take nine months I thought that was too long - and now here we are still waiting.

"If the report is published and details reasonable solutions then I'm sure we can move forward.

"I'm no aerodynamics expert but I am fairly sure something can be done."

A Highways England spokesperson said: "We are always looking for ways to improve the resilience of our road network and over the last 12 months we have been working with our partners in Suffolk and City University of London to see if we can allow vehicles over the Orwell Bridge during higher wind speeds.

"Whilst we appreciate the high level of public interest is the issue, we need to first fully understand the technical information within the report provided to us by City University so that we can accurately present the findings to the committee."

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