Ipswich: Nets could be installed alongside Orwell Bridge to reduce number of suicides

Orwell Bridge Ipswich

Orwell Bridge Ipswich - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A multi-million pound plan to prevent suicides from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge could be used as the model for a similar scheme on the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk.

The iconic America landmark is to have steel netting installed alongside it to help prevent people jumping from it.

And yesterday the Highways Agency refused to rule out the possibility of doing something similar with the bridge carrying the A14 across the Orwell.

When asked whether netting was an idea being considered a Highways Agency spokesman said: “We will be carrying out a review into the bridge this financial year.

“During this review we will look to see if there is any technology or best practice which could be adopted to help increase safety measures.

“The Orwell Bridge already has higher parapets than usual, which is sufficient to prevent people from accidentally falling, and Samaritan phones are provided for use by people who feel they may need confidential emotional support.”

The decision to conduct the review comes against a backdrop of another death involving the bridge just two days ago.

The body of 66-year-old Peter Thorpe, of St John’s Court, Sunfield Close, Ipswich, was found below the Orwell Bridge on Wednesday morning. He had been due to appear before Ipswich magistrates on sex offence charges around five hours later.Forty-two people have now died since the Orwell Bridge opened in 1982, according to official figures.