Storm Christoph: High winds close Orwell Bridge

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Orwell Bridge, Ipswich
Image caption,
The Orwell Bridge, which serves road traffic for the Port of Felixstowe, is expected to close for 16 hours from Saturday afternoon

Storm Christoph has led to the closure of a major A-road bridge as high winds are predicted.

Highways England said it would close the Orwell Bridge at Ipswich at about 20:00 GMT for "safety reasons".

The government agency said it would continue to "monitor wind speeds closely" before deciding when to reopen the bridge, which carries the A14 over the Orwell estuary.

However, the bridge was expected to reopen at 03:00 on Thursday, it said.

The bridge closes when wind speeds are likely to exceed the threshold of 50mph (80km/h), depending on the wind direction.

During the closure, a diversion route will be in place via the A1156, A1189 and A1214 through Ipswich.

When the bridge has been closed pre-lockdown, the diversion of traffic has usually brought the town's roads to a standstill during the day, and a business organisation has estimated it costs the local economy £1m a day.

But there are expected to be fewer vehicles on the road on this occasion.

Highways England is in the process of looking at ways to keep the bridge open to some vehicles, even in high winds."Drivers planning to travel in the area are advised to plan their journey in advance and check the latest weather and traffic conditions along the route.

"You can get the latest forecast from the Met Office and local radio," Highways England said.

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