Vehicles came to a standstill in Ipswich once again following the closure of parts of the A14 – leading to community leaders claiming it's "not good enough".

Ipswich came to a standstill once again on Wednesday, as the A14 between the Copdock Interchange and the Nacton Interchange, including the Orwell Bridge, closed for about four hours following a police incident.

Officers were called to reports of concern for the safety of a female near Nacton at about 11.40am.

A female aged in her teens was subsequently arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing a public nuisance in connection with the incident, Suffolk police said on Thursday.

She was taken to Martlesham police investigation centre for questioning and has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

All diverted traffic due to the road closure went through the town centre, causing long delays for vehicles throughout the afternoon – with the incident only cleared after 4pm.

Ipswich Star: Ipswich came to a standstill following the Orwell Bridge closureIpswich came to a standstill following the Orwell Bridge closure (Image: Charlotte Bond)

Ipswich borough councillor for Stoke Ward, Tony Blacker, said: "It was carnage everywhere. It affects people's livelihoods and is avoidable.

"I had a number of people contacting me saying their kids were stranded on the other side of town, or they couldn't get home.

"There's a bigger issue here – Felixstowe port is one of the biggest in the UK, and every time the bridge shuts, it must cause huge amounts of economic cost for the country, let alone Ipswich.

"I don't understand why it's not a priority to have had more attention.

Ipswich Star: Tony Blacker, Ipswich Borough Councillor for Stoke WardTony Blacker, Ipswich Borough Councillor for Stoke Ward (Image: Tony Blacker)

"When the bridge was built, it revolutionised transport in the area, and it's the only way to get from east to west.

"It's not good enough, and since I moved here 27 or 28 years ago, nothing has changed except there are more cars and lorries on the road.

"Whether it's wind, accidents or otherwise, every single time the bridge closes, it causes carnage and Ipswich and the wider areas comes to a standstill."

Tom Hunt, MP for Ipswich and co-chair of the Ipswich Transport Taskforce, expressed his frustration at the closure and repeated calls for the Northern Bypass project to be looked at again.

He said: "I couldn’t be more aware of the chaos caused when the bridge closes.

Ipswich Star: Tom Hunt MPTom Hunt MP (Image: House of Commons)

"Over the past few years, we have seen a significant reduction in the number of closures due to the introduction of the variable speed limit, which I pushed hard for, but we’re still getting closures from time to time and it’s crippling.

"The police do not take the decision to close the bridge lightly.

"I’m still waiting to get full information relating to the nature of the 'police incident' but I understand it was a very serious incident and there wasn’t much the police could do other than to call for the bridge to be closed. 

"The fact remains that we need an alternative to the Orwell Bridge. Even with the new variable speed limit, we’re still seeing Ipswich at a standstill every other month. 

Ipswich Star: Ipswich was at a standstill for the afternoonIpswich was at a standstill for the afternoon (Image: Charlotte Bond)

"It’s incredibly obvious to me we need a Northern Bypass, but until the day that others from across the political spectrum wake up and smell the coffee we will be here again and again sadly."

Jack Abbott, Labour candidate for Ipswich, said: "Ipswich’s poor infrastructure is not only hugely frustrating for local residents, but it is also hurting local businesses.

"When the Northern Bypass was scrapped by Suffolk County Council, a taskforce - chaired by Ipswich's Conservative MPs - was set up.

"Despite initially promising ‘action and delivery’, over three years later they admitted they’d made ‘no meaningful change’. What a waste. What a failure.

"It’s clear there needs to be a holistic, decisive plan which finally recognises Ipswich’s importance to our county's economy.

Ipswich Star: Jack Abbott, Labour candidate for IpswichJack Abbott, Labour candidate for Ipswich (Image: Newsquest)

"As well as upgrading major pinch points, we must also synchronise our public transport system, deliver safe cycling routes, and future-proof electric vehicle infrastructure.

"In parallel, we have to get bigger infrastructure projects back on the table, but we can't have any more years of inertia when we see little progress of any kind.

"This all requires hard work, political focus, honesty, joined-up thinking, ambition, and leadership. We haven't had much of it in recent years."

National Highways, which maintains the A14, has been approached for comment.