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Warning to drivers after ambulances unable to get through traffic during Orwell Bridge closure

PUBLISHED: 11:22 26 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:31 26 February 2017

Traffic sparked by the Orwell Bridge closure in Suffolk. Picture: Mick Webb

Traffic sparked by the Orwell Bridge closure in Suffolk. Picture: Mick Webb

Ambulances on blue lights found it difficult to navigate through gridlock in Suffolk sparked by the Orwell Bridge closure.

Drivers reported a number of vehicles getting caught behind lorries and cars who either refused to move or were unable to get out of the way as tailbacks grew during Storm Doris on Thursday.

Worst-hit areas included the Copdock Interchange and London Road in Ipswich as Highways England took the decision to close the bridge after Met Office forecasters warned gusts of up to 70mph could blight the county.

In wider Suffolk, particularly in the Coddenham and Debenham areas, trees fell in high winds sparking the closure of a string of rural roads which escalated traffic problems.

Sirens failed to encourage some drivers to move, delaying paramedics.

Ambulance bosses have since re-issued a warning to road users urging them to always pull over for emergency vehicles safely – when it is possible to do so.

“Due to the adverse weather across the region on Thursday, there were a number of road closures, some of which affected traffic flow in Suffolk,” a spokesman for the East of England Ambulance service said.

“Our road crews worked closely with our control room staff to navigate such closures to minimise the impact on patients.

“On Thursday we were called to more than 50 wind related calls regionally and would like to thank all of our staff and volunteers who were working throughout those conditions.

“We always advise motorists to be wary of hearing sirens behind them and seeing blue lights in their rear view mirrors, and to pull over in a safe and timely fashion when it is possible to do so.”

Failing to pull over could result in emergency patients being delayed on their route to hospital or prevent paramedics from getting to a dying patient in time.

Police in Suffolk responded to more than 800 calls as Storm Doris swept through the county.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service dealt with more than 120 weather-related incidents, one of which saw a block of flats in Colchester evacuated after its roof blew off.

Were you or someone you know affected by ambulances being unable to get through traffic during Storm Doris? Let us know by emailing newsroom@archant.co.uk

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