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Orwell Bridge open - but strengthening winds could spark closure

PUBLISHED: 07:19 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 04 February 2020

Highways England said it would monitor the weather forecast ahead of a decision on whether or not to close the bridge later today  Picture: GREGG BROWN

Highways England said it would monitor the weather forecast ahead of a decision on whether or not to close the bridge later today Picture: GREGG BROWN

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The Orwell Bridge remains open to traffic this morning - but roads bosses have warned high winds could force a closure this afternoon.

Yesterday, Highways England said it would monitor the weather throughout the morning and afternoon.

Winds of up to 45mph had been forecast for this part of the region, but the decision will depend on the Met Office's very latest forecast, as well as live data from the Orwell Bridge weather station.

The Orwell Bridge typically closes to all traffic if wind gusts of 50mph are predicted to a high degree of certainty in a non-favourable direction - although it has been closed in lower wind speeds.

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The bridge will be closed to all traffic, regardless of wind direction, once gusts of 60mph or higher are forecast.

A spokesman for Highways England said on Monday: "We'll be monitoring wind speeds throughout tonight, the morning and tomorrow afternoon."

Last week, Highways England announced that a ground-breaking study had identified new measures that could help keep the bridge open to traffic during periods of high winds.

Reducing the speed limit over the bridge during high winds, using temporary lane closures to mitigate the effect of high winds on vehicles, and keeping the bridge open in one direction, were three potential solutions identified in the year-long study.

Highways England said it would take forward the report's recommendations to assess their feasibility, with a view to introducing technology able to change the speed limit in high winds before the end of the year.

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