Anger after delays left Wherstead Road closed for hours

The transformer stretching out across Wherstead Road Picture: KATY SANDALLS

The transformer stretching out across Wherstead Road Picture: KATY SANDALLS - Credit: Archant

Residents and businesses have expressed their anger and concern ahead of a second weekend of work to move an abnormal load following hours of delays which caused traffic chaos in Ipswich.

Some residents struggled to get out of their homes while others complained of long delays in surrounding areas as following the two days of work on Bourne Bridge and Wherstead Road.

Suffolk Highways had anticipated the road being closed for a short while on Saturday but due to a vehicle breakdown and operational difficulties the road ended up being closed for a lot longer.

One local business owner on the road said that the closure had led to a significant loss of takings for them on Saturday with them not opening on Sunday due to the moving of the load.

“I just think they have been a bit harsh on businesses,” said the owner.

“I understand that these things have to happen. I think there could have been a bit more organisation.”

Collette Allen, Ipswich Borough Councillor for the Bridge Ward said that she was concerned that the possibility of delays had not been made clearer.

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“I am disappointed that it overran and that there wasn’t more forethought.”

Ms Allen said that one of her own colleagues had been stuck for an hour because of the work.

Many others were concerned about the timing of the road closures and the delays in work getting started.

Tracy Tenzing said: “It was supposed to be moved first thing but they didn’t start moving the signs etc. until gone 8.30!! Bad preparations!”

Amanda Williams added: “They’ve finally decided to close the roads at 11.45.. busiest time..Well done to Suffolk Highways.”

Some were concerned about the level of organisation surrounding the closures.

Fred Smith said: “Probably been two year’s in the planning and still can’t get it right!”

Writing on Twitter Suffolk Highways acknowledged that there had been delays but thanked those living close by:

“We would like to thank everyone for their patience so far, although we hope it has been some what entertaining. We appreciate that some disruption has been caused however, this is the safest way possible.”

A second load is due to leave the port next Sunday with road closures in place across the weekend.

Suffolk Highways were quick to arrest fears surrounding the second weekend of work: “We do not anticipate to face the same operational difficulties next weekend with the overbridge construction. The road will still need to be closed however, not for the same length of time as this weekend, resulting is less disruption

Not everyone was concerned by the load with many gathering on Wherstead Road from the early hours to see the vehicle move.

Enthusiast Paul Neal from Ipswich said: “We left home about 6.30am this morning and parked the car in the Ostrich. “We’ve been waiting in the rain ever since. Definitely worth waiting for.

“To have it in Ipswich is very special and I shall be here again next week watching it all over again.”

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