Poll: Speed limit on Orwell Bridge set to be reduced from January

The Highways Agency is looking at reducing accidents on the Orwell Bridge.

The Highways Agency is looking at reducing accidents on the Orwell Bridge.

Highways bosses are preparing to introduce a new speed limit on the Orwell Bridge in a bid to reduce accidents.

And to enforce the new limit, average speed cameras are likely to be introduced on the A14 between the Nacton and Wherstead junctions.

The news came out of a meeting between Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore, officials from the Highways Agency and the county council.

Full details of the speed limit will be announced at the end of January – it is not yet clear whether the limit will be 50mph or 60mph.

There are also likely to be changes to the slip roads in and out of the Shell service station on the westbound carriageway at Nacton.

The sliproads in and out of that station have been identified as a factor in a number of “shunts” on the bridge which can cause serious delays.

The meeting also discussed a number of incidents which had caused major disruption over along the A14 over recent months – especially the Orwell Bridge section which, when closed, forces traffic into the heart of Ipswich.,

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On one occasion the road was blocked for about 24 hours following two incidents, the shedding of a load of onions and a fuel spill.

The re-opening of the road was delayed because a specialist piece of equipment had to be brought in from Gatwick Airport.

Mr Passmore said: “That was a very specialist piece of kit to scarify the road surface and there are only three in the country and costs £450,000.

“I made the point that there should be one available in the east of England because we have so many major roads in this part of the country.”

Average speed cameras have been effective in reducing the number of accidents on the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon – and Mr Passmore believed they would encourage drivers to be more careful on the bridge.

Overall he was pleased by the response to the meeting: “I have been critical of the Highways Agency and the speed of their actions when things go wrong.

“But this was a very positive meeting. I think everyone came away understanding the position better after this.”

He hoped meetings like this could be

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer was not at the meeting, but welcomed the news that action would be taken on the Orwell Bridge.

He said: “The important thing is to ensure the Orwell Bridge remains open because if it closes there are all kinds of problems in the town – and it is operating near capacity.

“I am sure motorists would not object to taking a minute longer to get over it if the road was able to stay open more.”

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