End to bridge traffic nightmare

GRIDLOCK-threatened Ipswich got some good news today after the inspection of the Orwell Bridge finished two weeks early.Traffic on the eastbound lane of the A14 was flowing normally again today after nearly six weeks of speed restrictions while engineers surveyed the structure of the bridge.

GRIDLOCK-threatened Ipswich got some good news today after the inspection of the Orwell Bridge finished two weeks early.

Traffic on the eastbound lane of the A14 was flowing normally again today after nearly six weeks of speed restrictions while engineers surveyed the structure of the bridge.

And tonight the restrictions on the westbound carriageway will be lifted - leaving the road free of roadworks.

That means that the A14 will be clear by the time the Fonnereau Road/Crown Street junction in Ipswich is closed for work by Transco for seven weeks from next Monday.


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The work on the Orwell Bridge had been programmed to continue for eight weeks until July 31.

But this summer's fine weather meant that engineers carrying out the survey - who had to abseil over the side of the bridge - were able to get on quicker than hoped.

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It was suspected that they would finished early - but the overnight announcement that restrictions were being removed more than two weeks early came as a pleasant surprise to those not directly involved in the work.

Highways Agency project manager Brian Pitkin said: "This is good news for all road users. Hard work and good weather have both played key roles in completing the principal inspection on the bridge early."

He said no major problems with the bridge had been identified, although some minor work would be scheduled in over the next year.

"I would like to thank road uses for their patience over the past few weeks and to thank the inspection team and our consultants for their hard work during the inspection," he said.

Ipswich council transport spokeswoman Inga Lockington knew the work was going well - but today's news came as a pleasant surprise.

She said: "I am absolutely delighted. We had a meeting about this earlier in the week and we had indications that things were going well, but this is very good news.

"It means that the road around the town will be cleared by the time Transco starts its work.

"Much of that will be completed during the school holiday when traffic is less anyway - although we appreciate there will still disruption."

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