Nearly 8,500 vehicles caught speeding in first year of cameras on Orwell Bridge near Ipswich

Average speed cameras on the A14 by the Orwell Bridge. Picture: ARCHANT

Average speed cameras on the A14 by the Orwell Bridge. Picture: ARCHANT

The first year of operation of speed cameras over Suffolk’s Orwell Bridge has seen 8,498 drivers caught breaking the 60mph limit on the structure.

Tim Passmore. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Tim Passmore. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

However, the numbers suggest that many drivers have got the message – the numbers for the first six months of 2017 were less than half those during the last six months of last year.

The cameras started operation on July 1, 2016, and this newspaper has obtained information on the number of vehicles caught by them every month through Freedom of Information requests to Suffolk police.

During the first month, 1,699 drivers were caught speeding. In June this year the number was 448 drivers.

The numbers fell steadily every month last year, reaching a low of 297 drivers caught speeding in January this year. Since then they have been between 300 and 500 every month. The highest figure this year was in April, including the Easter holiday period, when 493 drivers were caught speeding.

Suffolk’s Chief Constable Gareth Wilson said he would not be satisfied until the number of drivers caught speeding was down to zero, and that it remained one of the “fatal four” factors that lay behind almost all serious road accidents.

There have been 513 vehicles caught speeding over the bridge more than once since the cameras were installed.

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In June, the maximum speed recorded by the average speed cameras was 95mph.

The cameras were installed and the speed limit brought down to 60mph last year after a campaign spearheaded by Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, aimed at cutting the number of accidents on the bridge. He persuaded Highways England to reduce the speed limit and install the cameras because if the road is closed to clear up after a crash, it can cause major problems for traffic in the town centre.

Mr Passmore welcomed the fact that the numbers in 2017 were down on those at the end of last year – but was concerned that the reduction in numbers seemed to have stalled.

He said: “My feeling is that there have been fewer accidents – but there are still too many people going too fast, which seems incredible. We shall compare these figures with previous years when we review the last year with Highways England.”