How many hours has the Orwell Bridge been closed for due to high winds?
PUBLISHED: 18:47 18 March 2019
The Orwell Bridge has been shut for a total of more than four days after being closed 14 times in the past six years due to high winds, figures have revealed.
The statistics come as commuters sufferered severe gridlock when the bridge closed twice within a week this month, with an eight-hour closure on Wednesday, March 13 causing traffic chaos across Ipswich.
Some drivers were even left stuck in cars for more than four hours as wind speeds reached more than 60mph.
The figures in our table show the amount of time the bridge on the A14 was shut for during each closure.
Since 2013, the longest closure lasted 16hrs and 18mins - when the bridge was shut in January 2018 before the Beast from the East arrived and sent Suffolk into lockdown.
Prior to the two closures last week, the bridge had been shut for a total of 88 hours over the last six years.
Highways England has been working with police, Suffolk County Council and others to assess some of the possible measures to help reduce the impact of bridge closures - or even prevent wind closures entirely.
So what are the options?
• Northern bypass - a definitive route has not yet been drawn up but would likely connect the A14 somewhere between Claydon and Needham Market with the A12, either at Martlesham or Seckford.
• Allowing cars to continue on the bridge - high-sided vehicles such as lorries and coaches could be diverted off the bridge, while still allowing cars to continue.
• Wind breaks or wind tunnels
• Reducing the speed limit further to 30mph
• Upper Orwell Crossings - bridge connecting the banks of the Orwell at Holywells with Wherstead Road.
Vote in our online poll to have your say on what you think is the best option.