Hundreds caught by new Orwell Bridge cameras

The average speed limit cameras on the Orwell Bridge were switched on at the start of July.

The average speed limit cameras on the Orwell Bridge were switched on at the start of July.

More than 800 drivers were caught speeding on the Orwell Bridge during the first 13 days that the new average speed cameras became operational, according to new police figures.

The 60mph speed limit was introduced in April, and the cameras were put up at that time.

They were working, but they needed to be fully calibrated and the police needed to be sure they were giving accurate information before they could be used for evidence.

They started taking action against drivers from July 1, and a Freedom of Information request revealed that 857 motorists were caught speeding between that date and July 13.

The fastest vehicle recorded was travelling at 100mph.

The cameras were installed by Highways England at the same time as the speed limit was introduced in a bid to reduce the number of accidents on the bridge.

Speed was considered to be a factor in many of the collisions on the bridge which can cause serious traffic problems across Ipswich when traffic is diverted through the town.

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There are no figures showing the number of accidents on the bridge – but a police spokeswoman said that since the new speed limit and cameras had been installed there had been no major incidents involving the closure of the bridge and the diversion of traffic through the town.

The speed limit and cameras were installed after Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore asked the Highways Agency – the predecessor to Highways England – to take action to cut accidents on the bridge.

Mr Passmore said he had mixed feelings about the figures: “I am delighted that there haven’t been any serious accidents causing problems for traffic in Ipswich and nearby villages over recent months.

“But I am very disappointed at the very high number of vehicles exceeding the speed limit – and these are average speed cameras so vehicles must be going over the limit for quite a distance before they are caught.

“The fact that one driver was going at more than 100mph over quite a long stretch of the road is especially concerning, that is very dangerous and quite irresponsible.”

Mr Passmore said he would be monitoring the number of prosecutions over the next few months to see if fewer drivers were speeding as more heard about the prosecutions.