Orwell Bridge could close again for second day as high winds continue

PUBLISHED: 14:18 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:03 13 March 2019

Gridlock caused by the Orwell Bridge closure  Picture: PETER CUTTS

Gridlock caused by the Orwell Bridge closure Picture: PETER CUTTS

Peter Cutts

The Orwell Bridge is still closed this afternoon - and could have to close again tomorrow.

Highways England said on Twitter this afternoon that it hoped the bridge would be reopened soon.

It said: “We have resources who are en route to assess the situation and we are hoping to have bridge open soon.

“Unfortunately, as we are dealing with weathe,r we cannot say with certainty when the wind speeds will drop enough for the bridge to be able to reopen.”

It also said that it is “a possibility at this time” that it may have to close the bridge again tomorrow because of the winds, adding: “We are working closely with the Met Office.”

Highways England said that, if it is going to be required to close the bridge again, it will issue an update this afternoon to allow people to plan ahead.

Its Twitter feed also said: “We cannot say for certain if it will be closed tomorrow. The decision is not taken lightly and is in response to weather which is not a certainty.”

Weatherquest forecaster Fred Best predicted that it could be particularly gusty from around 9am onwards tomorrow, with more high winds, although Storm Gareth will have finished by then. “There could be gusts of 40 to 45mph and then picking up to 50mph around lunchtime and early afternoon.”

He said: “There will be a new set of fronts pushing through from the west tomorrow.

“There will be outbreaks of rain first thing and there could be a few heavy showers mid-morning.”

Mr Best added that more blustery weather was also expected on Friday and Saturday.

During Tuesday, wind speed readings on the bridge have gone above 60mph. The Orwell Bridge was closed from shortly after 7am, causing major travel delays across the town.

Parks across Ipswich had closed today, but this afternoon four parks in the town, Christchurch Park, Holywells Park, Alexandra Park and Bourne Park, were reopening.

Read more - What can be done over Orwell Bridge closures and how likely are these measures?

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