Night noise complaints on Ipswich diversion route amid Orwell Bridge works
- Credit: Paul Geater
Speed checks have been brought in along a diversion route through Ipswich while the Orwell Bridge is closed overnight - to crack down on speeding vehicles keeping people awake.
Work to introduce wind speed reduction measures on the Orwell Bridge through February and March was planned to be carried out with contraflow and temporary speed limits in place.
But Highways England later brought in full road closures because "motorists were not complying with the temporary speed limits through the roadworks" - which was "putting both workforce and drivers at risk".
As a result, more traffic has been coming through the town on the diversion route through London Road, Yarmouth Road, Chevallier Street, Valley Road, Colchester Road and Heath Road, causing late night noise disturbance between 10pm and 6am.
Paul West, Conservative Suffolk County Council member for Bixley and cabinet member for Ipswich, said investigations were needed as to why the contraflow was abandoned so quickly.
"Everyone in Ipswich welcomes the long-awaited work that is currently taking place during night time on the Orwell Bridge," he said.
"However, the news that the work has been extended until March 20 will be met with disappointment with those residents who live on the diversion route and who have had to put up with noisy nights since mid-February.
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"Highways England should have done more to have a working contraflow on the bridge which they gave up on fairly quickly. They could have planned that better with the police to make sure it worked.
"As residents have discovered, HGVs are no more likely to keep to the speed limit on the diversion routes in residential roads than they were on the contraflow on the bridge.
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"However, I’d like to thank Tim Passmore who has raised the issue with Suffolk police and I am pleased that there have at least been some speed checks taking place on the diversion route in the last ten days.
"Residents are looking forward to more peaceful night at the end of March. There’s nothing worse than a noisy HGV with an empty container clattering through you neighbourhood in the early hours."
Liberal Democrat councillor for St Margaret's, Inga Lockington, told last week's Ipswich Borough Council central area committee that correspondence with Highways England indicated that it had placed vans at two locations on the diversion routes at night to help stop vehicles speeding.
She added: "There is nothing that makes more noise in the middle of the night than empty container lorries bumping up and down on the roundabout. It sounds like a shot from a gun."
Mr West said the council would review the issue with police and Highways England.