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Care company boss angry over Orwell Bridge traffic chaos

PUBLISHED: 17:05 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:05 13 March 2019

There was major traffic congestion in Ipswich today because of the closure of the Orwell Bridge Picture: DAVID VINCENT

There was major traffic congestion in Ipswich today because of the closure of the Orwell Bridge Picture: DAVID VINCENT

Archant

The closure of the Orwell Bridge has caused traffic misery for many in Ipswich today.

David Finch, managing director of Cephas Care based in Ipswich has spoken of his frustration over the closure of the Orwell Bridge Picture: CEPHAS  CAREDavid Finch, managing director of Cephas Care based in Ipswich has spoken of his frustration over the closure of the Orwell Bridge Picture: CEPHAS CARE

But those carrying out key roles in the community claim it is even more frustrating for them, as the gridlock in Ipswich prevents workers from getting to people in need.

Replying to a tweet about the closure from Highways England, a managing director of a care company based in Ipswich’s Crabbe Street has expressed his frustration.

David Finch, of Cephas Care, tweeted: “When will someone do something about this, many of our care staff are running late to customers due to roads which cannot cope with diversions.”

Speaking about the impact a bridge closure has on staff who drive, or use public transport to get to customers, Mr Finch said: “As a care business we have staff go from location to location and to fixed locations – so today, we have had numbers of staff running late for both parts of our care business.

“This then has a knock-on effect at the end of the day so carers may not finish until much later which is unfair on them as it not their fault. “They will also need to be paid for this time, which incurs additional costs.”

He added: “Highways England and Suffolk County Council must come up with a long-term solution but soon, as this keeps happening and all I ever see is talk and no action.”

Some of Mr Finch’s suggestions to ease the gridlock when the Orwell Bridge closes include wind breaks – and only stopping high sided vehicles travelling over the bridge in high winds.

Highways England replied to Mr Finch’s tweet and said: “Hello David, sorry to hear this. We try to give as much notice as we can when the bridge is closed. The bridge is closed for safety reasons. Thank you.”

Responding to general concerns about today’s closure, a spokesman added: “We only close the Orwell Bridge when it is essential for safety reasons, and we have been working hard with our partners in local authorities, the emergency services and business groups to reduce the number, duration and impact of closures due to severe weather.

“The bridge is closed for safety reasons, usually due to high winds. We do not take a decision to close the bridge lightly.

“When the wind speed is forecast to reach a certain level, we will close the bridge.

“If the forecast is close to the point at which we may close, we will announce that it may close and then keep drivers informed as the forecasts gets clearer nearer the time.”

For more on the authority’s latest bridge protocol, visit this link.

You can read more about which Orwell Bridge closure measures are currently being assessed by Highways England here.

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