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Suffolk villages cut off as Network Rail closes two main roads near Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 11:27 25 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:17 25 May 2019

Work has started to rebuild Westerfield level crossing, Picture: PAUL GEATER

Work has started to rebuild Westerfield level crossing, Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

Residents of villages to the north of Ipswich have been left feeling cut off after Network Rail closed both roads to the area to work on the track.

Tuddenham Road bridge is closed. Picture: PAUL GEATERTuddenham Road bridge is closed. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Westerfield Level Crossing on the B1077 closed in the early hours of Saturday morning to allow engineers to move in and start rebuilding it to cope with increased freight rail services as part of the upgrade to the Felixstowe line.

On the same day another team of engineers employed by Network Rail moved in to close the Tuddenham Road bridge across the East Suffolk line for repairs - meaning both routes to villages including Tuddenham, Westerfield, Witnesham, Otley, and Ashbocking were closed.

The rail company is recommending drives take a 30km detour to get from one side of the line to the other!

Witnesham resident Simon Barlow said: "Why on earth are they closing both roads at the same time? The Tuddenham Road bridge has had lights on it for months while they wait to do the work - and now that starts on the same day that the level crossing is closed."

Work has started to rebuild Westerfield level crossing, Picture: PAUL GEATERWork has started to rebuild Westerfield level crossing, Picture: PAUL GEATER

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The level crossing is due to be closed until July 15 - there is no word on how long the work at Tuddenham Road bridge will take although residents have been warned it could take until October to finish.

Both structures are owned by Network Rail, which means it has the final way on when work is carried out - it has to inform the county council when the roads will be closed, but there is nothing the local authority can do to force it to change its plans.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "We're sorry about the local traffic disruption today in and around the Westerfield area. The level crossing at Westerfield station has been closed as part of planned upgrade works for which a diversion route is in place.

Tuddenham Road bridge is closed. Picture: PAUL GEATERTuddenham Road bridge is closed. Picture: PAUL GEATER

"Works are also starting on the road bridge at Tuddenham to undertake repairs which is having an additional impact on traffic routes.

"While we always try to coordinate our planned railway works to minimise disruption, additional unplanned works may also be required to address any matters that require attention to ensure that our infrastructure remains safe for our customers.

"We wish to apologise for the disruption being caused to drivers as a result of these works taking place at the same time."

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