Will the Orwell Bridge close today?
- Credit: Archant
Motorists concerned that the Orwell Bridge may shut this morning due to high winds are being reassured that a closure is unlikely.
Highways England has confirmed there are “no current plans” to close the Orwell Bridge this morning.
A spokesperson said on Twitter that, while “it is going to be windy in the area,” it is not likely that the bridge will need to close “at this stage”.
While forecasters suggested gales of up to 60mph yesterday, Fred Best from Weatherquest said conditions should be much calmer today – with maximum speeds unlikely to exceed 25mph.
However the winds will pick up again tomorrow, potentially peaking at between 50mph and 55mph towards the coast as the day goes on.
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The bridge is particularly dangerous in strong winds for high sided vehicles, as the wall of the bridge does not fully protect them.
Calls have been made for the introduction of a Northern Bypass - an alternative route which can manage the complexities of keeping the large volume of traffic to and from East Suffolk moving.
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A nine-month expert study of the Orwell Bridge’s aerodynamics was launched in October 2018, which will determine the future of wind closure measures from 2019.
Arguments for the diversion of HGVs and high-sided vehicles to other routes and cars permitted to use the bridge have also been called for by road users.