“It’s sickening” Businesses express anger following Orwell Bridge closure
Businesses on the Wherstead Road have expressed their frustrations after several road closures cost them time and money.
Last week the Orwell Bridge was closed for several hours on Thursday, November 29, due to dangerous cross winds, this saw hundreds of vehicles diverted away from the A14 route and into Ipswich along the road.
Claire Muckleston owns Bourne Gardening Centre on the Wherstead Road and talked at length about the impact of the closure.
She said: “We’ve lost six days of trading because of Orwell Bridge closures this year.
“I’ve been here on the Wherstead Road for 21 years now and it is getting harder,it’s a really important road but we get bunged up with traffic whenever there are any roadworks or closures.
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“It’s sickening to think about.”
Martin Rashleigh runs a Hertz car hire shop on Wherstead Road with his wife Sarah and was similarly hit badly by the closures.
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He said: “Everyone knows it is a problem in Ipswich when the Orwell Bridge closes, it is a nightmare experience.
“The traffic was nearly backed up all the way to Capel St Mary on the last closure, there should be a northern road.”
Plans for a northern bypass to ease traffic pressure in Ipswich are still ongoing and in October, a nine-month study of the bridge’s aerodynamics was launched to determine future closure measures.
Highways England manage the Orwell Road but did not comment further on the closure.
Business also faced problems earlier this year when Wherstead Road was closed for hours over consecutive weekends on October 27-28 and on Sunday November 4 as two transformers were moved from Ipswich to Bramford.
Mr Rashleigh said: “It was a huge inconvenience, people couldn’t bring their hire cars back to the site and their insurances ran out so we had to go out to them to collect the cars ourselves.”
Raj Velu manages the Harvest Energy Petrol Station on the road, he said: “The Orwell Bridge closes were bad but the transformers were worse, I had to turn away my fuel delivery, it was a big loss.”
Businesses have applied for compensation after the Wherstead Road closures, Suffolk Highways have 90 days from the date the transformers were moved to process the claims.