Leaders meet to discuss impact of Orwell bridge closure

PUBLISHED: 21:14 19 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:20 20 December 2016

Orwell Bridge.

Orwell Bridge.

An urgent meeting was last night staged to find better ways to cope with traffic problems in the event of the Orwell Bridge being closed.

It was organised after the roads in Ipswich and surrounding areas were brought to a standstill on November 22 when the bridge was temporarily shut due to high winds. The closure saw journey times triple for some commuters.

Yesterday’s meeting was chaired by Suffolk county councillor for transport James Finch, with representatives from Highways England, county and district councillors, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, police, and the local business community, including the Port of Felixstowe.

The aim was to discuss how all organisations can work together to try to reduce the impact of any such closure in the future.

A spokesman for the county council said the idea of an Ipswich northern bypass was mentioned in the meeting, but was not the main focus.

He said: “A number of initial ideas and options were discussed during the meeting with the aim of improving the way in which messages are communicated during such incidents. There was also discussion around potential traffic management ideas and diversion routes that may reduce congestion.”

He added: “During the course of discussion, reference was made to the notion of a northern relief road for Ipswich, but the main focus of the meeting was very much about looking at how potential future closures of the Orwell Bridge may be managed.”

The spokesman said a number of the suggested options were ruled out.

Members of the meeting agreed to come together again in the New Year to go over all the potential solutions in more detail.

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