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Orwell Bridge to close for abnormal load

PUBLISHED: 12:42 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 19:22 25 July 2019

Orwell Bridge, Wherstead Strand and the River Orwell, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Orwell Bridge, Wherstead Strand and the River Orwell, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

A massive electrical transformer the size of 14 double-decker buses will force the closure of the Orwell Bridge when it is transported through Suffolk on Sunday.

The abnormal load, an electrical transformer for the National Grid, will travel from Cliff Quay in Ipswich to a National Grid substation in Burwell, Cambridgeshire.

Moving the giant transformer will be a tall task for all involved, although authorities have put together a draft schedule to try and keep disruption to a minimum.

As part of preparations, bollards and signs in the area of Landseer Road, Nacton Road and the Rands Way roundabout have been removed to help make room for the huge transformer.

The load will also have to travel on the opposite side of the road at times.

After completing final checks, the load will depart from Ipswich Docks at 8.30am, negotiating its way around the Nacton area of the town and the Landseer Road roundabout.

The load is due to join the A14 eastbound carriageway from 10am, before making its way to the Orwell Bridge, where Suffolk police will be implementing a road block to ensure driver safety.

Following the challenge of navigating through Ipswich, the load will then need to make its way through Stowmarket by around 12.30pm, before negotiating the A14 crossover on the final leg of its journey.

Finally, the load will arrive in the Cambridgeshire village of Burwell's substation at 4pm.

Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council's deputy leader and cabinet member responsible for roads, transport and rural affairs, said: "It is great to hear that we are now working towards the next abnormal load following last years' success. Last year, the teams executed this huge operation perfectly with minimal disruption, whilst providing live feeds across social media. It was fascinating to watch, and I hope to do that same this time around.

"This just goes to show that the teamwork shown throughout the service really does go a long way, whether it be in the planning or in the operation itself.

"I would like to thank the teams involved as well as Suffolk's road users. Several navigations will require slow and careful movements therefore, we would appreciate co-operation and patience from road users throughout the day."

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