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Will the A14, Orwell Bridge, close in Suffolk due to high winds? Suffolk police reopen the bridge

PUBLISHED: 09:40 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:38 18 January 2018

Traffic on Colchester Road.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Traffic on Colchester Road. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Orwell Bridge has reopened this morning after 80mph winds battered Suffolk and brought its closure.

The Orwell Bridge.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Orwell Bridge. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Highways England had said yesterday the bridge would be likely to remain open, however by 5.19am this morning the increased wind speeds led to a warning there would be a greater chance of closure.

By 6.37am, Highways England confirmed that Suffolk police had closed the bridge between junctions 56 and 57.

Shortly after 9am Suffolk police announced it was reopening the bridge.

MORE: Rail services cancelled in Suffolk and Essex

Suffolk police has been monitoring the situation.

A force spokesman, speaking at around 5.45am, said: “We’ve had lots of reports of trees down in parts of Suffolk as well as garden sheds.”

MORE: High winds bring power cuts to Suffolk and Essex

Calls have been flooding into authorities about reports of debris and fallen trees.

Ipswich Borough Council, which handles all reports in Suffolk, has urged callers to make the reports to its dedicated email address.

This covers the whole of Suffolk until 8.30am as the borough handles county-wide contacts out of hours.

MORE: Suffolk schools close in high winds

There are reports that Cox’s Hill on the A137 in Lawford is blocked by tree. Belstead Road in Ipswich has also been closed by a fallen tree.

MORE: Ipswich parks and cemeteries to open late amid high winds

The Met Office has issued weather warnings for much of the UK, including East Anglia.

Its latest update forecast “very strong winds” that would transfer eastwards across the country, before clearing mid-morning.

“Road, rail and ferry services may be affected, with longer journey times and cancellations,” it said,

“There is also a possibility that some bridges may close. Power cuts may occur, and there is the potential for other services, such as mobile phone coverage, to be affected.

“Injuries and danger to life from flying debris are possible, along with some damage to buildings.”

The warning added that gusts of 50-60mph are likely quite widely, with gusts of 65 -75mph in some places - with Lincolnshire and East Anglia expected to see the worse winds early this morning.

Weatherquest forecaster Chris Bell said that gusts could exceed 70mph in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Weather warnings issued by the Met Office. Picture: MET OFFICEWeather warnings issued by the Met Office. Picture: MET OFFICE

“Take care if out on the morning commute,” he added.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman added that bin collections could be affected by closure of the Orwell Bridge by Highways England.

“Bridge closures do have an impact – especially with the current road works in parts of the town – and while we will do all we can to complete bin rounds we do ask residents to be patient.”

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