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Orwell Bridge reopens after high winds ease

PUBLISHED: 14:27 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:59 24 January 2018

The Orwell Bridge was expected to close during Wednesday's rush hour. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Orwell Bridge was expected to close during Wednesday's rush hour. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The Orwell Bridge reopened on Wednesday afternoon after being closed for four hours because of high winds.

The Orwell Bridge shut at 10am for the third time this month. It remained closed until just before 2pm for eastbound traffic and was fully reopened about 2.15pm.

Traffic should be able to use the bridge again during the afternoon rush-hour.

A spokesman for Highways England said: “Wind speeds are forecast to rise again later today, but are not expected to reach the threshold that would require a further closure.

“Winds are still strong and sudden gusts of wind may still occur. Highways England is advising road users to continue to drive with extra care and to give high sides vehicles, caravans, motorbikes, and bicycles plenty of space.”

The bridge shut as gusts of up to 65mph were predicted to sweep through East Anglia, and peaked around noon.

Met Office spokesman Alex Burkill said: “Storm Georgina has arrived meaning it’s very windy across much of the UK especially in Scotland.”

The 10am Ipswich to Peterborough train service was delayed for 20 minutes due to part of a tree falling on the railway line between Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket.

A tree has also come down in Green Hill, Coddenham and is blocking the road.

The incident was reported to Suffolk Constabulary at 11.05am and part of the tree is resting on power cables.

UK Power Networks has been alerted.

A Highways England spokesman said: “Drivers planning to travel in the area are encouraged to plan their journey in advance and check the latest weather and traffic conditions along the route.

“Drivers making journeys across the region should be aware of sudden gusts of wind, give high sides vehicles, caravans, motorbikes, and bicycles plenty of space.”

The Orwell Bridge closes for safety reasons when there are forecasts of cross winds of 50mph or gusts of 60mph in an easterly or westerly direction.

Weatherquest, which is based in Norwich, said forecasts were for surface winds of 50mph, rising to 65mph on higher ground.

Forecaster Adam Dury said there would be a prolonged period of high winds from 8am-1pm, with the strongest gusts around 12noon.

This is third Orwell Bridge closure this year.

Storm Eleanor caused the bridge to close overnight from January 2 into January 3.

The latest closure was on the morning of Thursday, January 18, when Storm David saw winds of up to 80mph batter the region.

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