Orwell Bridge fully reopens before morning rush hour

Stock image of the Orwell Bridge. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Stock image of the Orwell Bridge. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

The Orwell Bridge fully reopened before the rush hour this morning, Highways England has confirmed.

The A14 bridge was closed at 10pm last night due to strong winds and was not expected to reopen until 8am this morning.

But it opened in both directions at 5.30am today after wind speeds fell to an “acceptable” level.

The Orwell Bridge this morning. Picture: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

The Orwell Bridge this morning. Picture: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND - Credit: Archant

Highways England said in a statement: “Road users in the East of England are being advised that the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk has re-opened this morning after it was closed last night due to high winds.

“The bridge re-opened at 5.30am after being closed at 10pm yesterday for safety reasons.”

It added on Twitter shortly after 5.30am: “The A14 Orwell Bridge in Suffolk is now fully open in both directions as wind speeds have now dropped to acceptable speeds. Thanks for your patience.”

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said “traffic is flowing” over the bridge but advised all motorists across Suffolk to be wary of debris on the roads, particuarly rural and minor roads. He said there are not any specific areas where tree branches or other debris may have fallen.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing unit also said on Twitter at around 5.30am today: “Along with (Highways England), just reopened the A14 Orwell Bridge following the high winds. Please be aware there is debris across many roads in Suffolk on your journey today.”

A yellow Met Office weather warning has been in place for large parts of the country, including Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, from 9am on Wednesday to 7am on Thursday, but the warning was no longer in place in the East of England early this morning.

A raft of additional measures are being discussed to improve the traffic impact of an Orwell Bridge closure, with an automated closure, quicker re-opening and continued use of the bridge for certain vehicle types all tabled for discussion.

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The planned diversion route when the bridge was closed is via the A1156, A1189 and A1214 through Ipswich.