There's wind...so there's chaos

MOTORISTS faced more misery on the roads today as blustery conditions continued to affect Suffolk.Lorries were forced to leave the A14 at Levington to queue up on the old A45 after the Port of Felixstowe was closed to container traffic and Operation Stack was put into place at about 2.

Neil Puffett

MOTORISTS faced more misery on the roads today as blustery conditions continued to affect Suffolk.

Lorries were forced to leave the A14 at Levington to queue up on the old A45 after the Port of Felixstowe was closed to container traffic and Operation Stack was put into place at about 2.30am.

A spokesman for the Port of Felixstowe said it is unclear how long the port will be closed for as high winds are predicted throughout the day.

“Winds are rising again,” he said.

“As soon as we can, when the wind is within safe working limits, we will re-open.”

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The disruption follows a day of traffic chaos yesterday when the Orwell Bridge was closed for several hours due to winds in excess of 100mph, triggering gridlock as motorists detoured through Ipswich.

Town chiefs have revealed they are in talks with highways officials about improving signage in the area in a bid to address some of the issues in the future.

Paul West, responsible for transport at Ipswich Borough Council, said traffic problems are unavoidable when the Orwell Bridge closes due to high winds but work is underway to try and improve the situation.

He said: “Ipswich town centre and Ipswich as a whole tends to grind to halt as many people will have found with the tailbacks going back several miles.

“It is a very difficult situation that hasn't necessarily got an easy and quick solution.

“There is certainly an argument for better signage and the borough and county council are making moves, talking with the Highways Agency about more proactive signage for major trunk roads.

“We also need to get the message across to people that when there is adverse weather, such as at the moment, they should leave a little bit earlier or consider whether the journey needs to be taken.”

Mr West said a potential long term-solution to the issue was a northern bypass linking the A14 with the A12 north of Ipswich, although a decision to build this road could not be taken purely based on issues surrounding the Orwell Bridge.

Elsewhere people are today continuing to repair damage done by yesterday's gale force winds.

In Felixstowe, wedding plans are being amended after a marquee set up on a cliff top for festivities this coming weekend was ripped from a garden and seen to fly off into the North Sea.

A witness, who did not wish to be named, said the huge marquee was sited at a seafront house at the top of Jacob's Ladder, off Martello Lane, Old Felixstowe.

“It just blew away,” he said.

Meanwhile remnants of a tree blown over on Princes Street, Ipswich, yesterday morning have been cleared away by council staff.

The Met Office has issued a severe gale warning for much of Britain from Tuesday evening until Wednesday afternoon, including Ipswich.

The worst of the storms are expected to strike further north this time, with more disruption to transport and power possible.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: "The situation has now improved along parts of the south west and southern coasts."

Were you affected by the weather? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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