Bridge of Sighs, but where's Plan B?

COMMENT: Motoring misery descended on Ipswich when the Orwell Bridge was closed due to high winds. For many caught up in yesterday's chaos, completing their frustrating drive to work took longer than it would have done to hop on a plane and fly to Spain.

MOTORING misery descended on Ipswich when the Orwell Bridge was closed due to high winds.

For many caught up in yesterday's chaos, completing their frustrating drive to work took longer than it would have done to hop on a plane and fly to Spain.

Traffic problems are not unique to Suffolk, of course.

From London to Liverpool, Northampton to Newcastle, the curse of congestion is endured on a daily basis, the never-ending snaking queues causing travel misery and severe disruption to business.

But in our usually quiet part of the world, the problem is exacerbated due to a lack of contingency - quite simply, we have no Plan B.

When the wind blows or a car overturns, the Orwell Bridge is closed and - within minutes - Ipswich rapidly slows to a grinding halt.

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While the Highways Agency has a difficult job in making the decision to close such a significant piece of tarmac, there is a growing feeling road bosses have become a little trigger-happy.

Shutting off the bridge has huge repercussions, immediately paralysing Suffolk's county town and disabling one of the region's most important business hubs.

Yesterday alone must have cost Suffolk's economy tens of millions of pounds.

What's worse, the problem looks set to degenerate before it improves.

With the Port of Felixstowe set for major expansion, a million more lorries will soon be trundling along the A14.

Today, we are asking road planners to take action. The time has come for a major re-think.

Because without a radical overhaul we will face more traffic problems, with more people injured in crashes on roads which are overflowing.

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