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Traffic lights to be temporarily ripped out in Wherstead Road

PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:01 24 October 2018

Wherstead Road will be closed to allow the abnormal loads to pass Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Wherstead Road will be closed to allow the abnormal loads to pass Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Preparations are under way to move four enormous electrical reactors for Suffolk’s billion-pound off-shore wind farm – weighing as much as 150 elephants – from Ipswich to Bramford.

One reactor being lifted from Ipswich docks in a delicate operation to move the colossal reactors. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYSOne reactor being lifted from Ipswich docks in a delicate operation to move the colossal reactors. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYS

Ten police cars will escort the abnormal loads from Ipswich Docks to Wherstead Road and Bourne Bridge over two weekends – this weekend and the next.

In a major £30k project, traffic signals, street lighting columns, road signs and traffic islands will be removed from the area – and a stronger temporary structure will be installed over Bourne Bridge.

Built in Spain, the reactors are a key element of the £2.5bn East Anglia ONE Offshore wind farm.

Highways chiefs believe the improvements and removal of ‘street furniture’ are vital to get the load through the town.

The convoys will move out of Ipswich in the early hours of the next two weekends. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYSThe convoys will move out of Ipswich in the early hours of the next two weekends. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYS

Replacement signs and traffic signals are being replaced in new positions so other large loads can pass along the route with less disruption.

Suffolk Highways workers also plan to boost other infrastructure by illuminating signs, roundabout chevrons and street lights.

To minimise traffic disruption, the rolling road block will pass through Ipswich at the following times:

Each reactor weighs around 250 tonnes. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYSEach reactor weighs around 250 tonnes. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYS

• Saturday, October 27 from 7am-8.30am

• Sunday, October 28 from 7am-10am

• Saturday, November 3 from 7am-8.30am

• Sunday, November 4 from 7am-10am

The equipments is heading to Burstall substation as part of the East Anglia ONE project. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYSThe equipments is heading to Burstall substation as part of the East Anglia ONE project. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYS

However, highways bosses have warned strong winds could delay the convoy.

Wherstead Road will be completely shut for short periods and on-street parking will be obstructed through Sproughton along B1113, High Street, Loraine Way and Bullen Lane.

What route will the ‘super’ abnormal loads take?

For drivers travelling eastbound on the A14, Suffolk Highways are diverting traffic from Ipswich docks to the A137 Hawes Street, Vernon Street, Star Lane, Grimwade Street, Duke Street, Holywells Road, Landseer Road, Nacton Road, A1189, A14 (J57), A14 (J56) and vice versa.

Will you be affected? Directions for the convoy are as follows:

• Left out of port and cross central reservation onto the northbound carriageway

• Cross Ostrich Creek Bridge on wrong side of road and turn right onto A137

• With a rolling road block in place, join the A14 in the wrong direction for one junction (56-55)

• Continue onto A14 junction 55 eastbound off-slip and turn tractor units around

• Turn left onto A1214 heading north

• Cross the roundabout continuing onto A1214

• At the traffic lights turn left onto A1071

• At the roundabout turn right onto B1113 and negotiate Sproughton

• Turn left onto Bullen Lane

Why is this happening? Suffolk’s highways chief explains:

Mary Evans, cabinet member for roads, transport and rural affairs at Suffolk County Council, said: “Moving these enormous pieces of structure from Ipswich Docks to Bramford is arguably one of the most challenging operations Suffolk Highways has managed to date.

“It has proved extremely challenging to find a safe and practical route.

“Our teams have worked incredibly hard with all parties to ensure this complex transportation is carefully planned to ensure the safety of the workers and members of the travelling public, whilst minimising inconvenience.

She added: “I am extremely proud of our highways teams who, on top of their day-to-day duties, have been able to facilitate the move whilst securing improved highway network infrastructure.”

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