THOUSANDS of motorists will face rush-hour chaos for the next six to eight weeks as safety inspections take place on the Orwell Bridge.Today The Evening Star looks at how the closures will affect businesses, commuters and hauliers travelling to and from Ipswich.
THOUSANDS of motorists will face rush-hour chaos for the next six to eight weeks as safety inspections take place on the Orwell Bridge.
Today The Evening Star looks at how the closures will affect businesses, commuters and hauliers travelling to and from Ipswich.
As the Orwell Bridge faced its first weekday of closure yesterday, much of Ipswich town centre became grid locked.
Motorists queued at Fore Hamlet and buses across the town were delayed as traffic came to a halt from about 8am.
The Evening Star spoke to frustrated motorists as they queued in rush hour traffic - many choosing to drive through town to avoid the Orwell Bridge.
David McNulty, 59, a taxi driver from Henniker Road, Ipswich, said: "It's terrible. If I had been working, I would have lost about £10 an hour.
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"I have come from Nacton and it has so far taken me 15 minutes just to travel along Nacton Road."
The single lane closures on the bridge will be taking place for 24 hours for up to eight weeks.
During this time there will be a 40-mph speed limit, further adding to the congestion.
Safety inspections take place every six years on the bridge and during the process abseiling experts survey the structure to see if further maintenance needs to be carried out.
Ray Vinton, of Church Road, Tattingstone, was stuck in traffic in Nacton Road.
The 36-year-old added: "It's pretty bad most mornings, but today is the worst I have seen it for a few weeks. I am losing time - and time is money."
Many people were late for work and late for appointments causing frustration and loss of money for the town's businesses.
Martin Nicholls, 39, of Nacton Crescent, Ipswich, said: "It's appalling. "We've been on road half an hour just to get here from Nacton Crescent. We are late for an appointment."
A motorist from Beccles added: "This is the first time I have been through Ipswich and it's bad."
Ann McWilliam, 60, of Langley Avenue, Felixstowe, said the traffic was so bad it had taken an hour to travel from Felixstowe to Nacton Road.
Congestion also hit buses in the town as jammed roads created delays to services.
Malcolm Robson, managing director of Ipswich Buses, said: "It's causing us disruption and delays. People are trying to come through the town centre instead of going over the Orwell Bridge and obviously our buses go into the town centre.
"We are being delayed across the whole network.
"Once we have seen the pattern that emerges, we may be able to plan for it and minimise the disruption over the coming weeks."
Shaun Daw, Ipswich traffic superintendent for First Eastern Counties Buses, added: "Some of the services have been delayed - the ones coming down Bishop's Hill and St Helen's Street in Ipswich. I would say there is about a 20-minute delay on those services.
"It is very difficult to plan for it because our services are at a 15-minute frequency, but we will do everything we can to operate to timetable."