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Highways England to monitor wind speeds on Orwell Bridge tomorrow as Met Office issue yellow weather warning

PUBLISHED: 10:30 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:24 02 February 2017

Highways England will monitor the wind speeds on the Orwell Brodge tomorrow  Photo: GREGG BROWN

Highways England will monitor the wind speeds on the Orwell Brodge tomorrow Photo: GREGG BROWN

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for wind across the east of England tomorrow with some coastal areas expected to see gusts of up to 60mph.

Traffic chaos on Colchester Road in Ipswich due to the closure of the Orwell Bridge in NovemberTraffic chaos on Colchester Road in Ipswich due to the closure of the Orwell Bridge in November

Highways England are keeping a close eye on the weather to see if the A14 Orwell Bridge in Ipswich will need to close.

In November, gusts of 50 mph shut the bridge during the morning rush hour causing traffic chaos in the town.

Thousands of motorists were forced to find alterative routes through Ipswich, in some cases tripling the time it took them to get to work.

However, Highways England has said a bridge closure is unlikely.

Thousands of motorists were affected by the rush hour closure of the Orwell Bridge in November 2016Thousands of motorists were affected by the rush hour closure of the Orwell Bridge in November 2016

A spokesman said: “Any decision will be based on actual data rather than forecasts and will depend on the wind conditions.

“It would also depend on the wind direction, with a crosswind there’s a greater chance of affecting the bridge rather than a through wind.

“We will continue to monitor the conditions and will act accordingly.”

Whilst the bridge is open, Highways England will monitor wind speeds closely, and if there is an increase in the high winds that could make crossing the Orwell Bridge unsafe, it may be closed.

The Met Office yellow warning states: “The most likely scenario is for gusts widely in the 50 to 60mph bracket, which could affect travel and produce some minor damage.”

Dan Holley, forecaster at Weatherquest, said the wind is set to pick up in the late afternoon.

“It is wind that will be the main issue,” he said. “The morning will be dry with sunny spells with eventual patchy rain. Then the winds will be picking up late afternoon and into the evening.

“We should see gusts of 40-45mph with the odd 50mph gust. Exposed coastal areas could see winds of 50-55mph.

“The height of the Orwell Bridge means the winds tend to be stronger.

“When we talk about wind speeds we are talking about those measured at the 10 metre level but the Orwell Bridge stands much higher so the winds will be stronger there.

“Wind direction will also be a factor. Winds coming across the bridge will affect it more than winds coming the same direction.”

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