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Orwell Bridge closure 'highly likely' as wind speeds of 60mph predicted

PUBLISHED: 12:29 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:09 13 January 2020

Could the Orwell Bridge close this evening? Picture: ARCHANT

Could the Orwell Bridge close this evening? Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

High winds of up to 60mph are expected across Suffolk this evening, with Highways England confirming that the closure of the Orwell Bridge is "highly likely".

Despite no weather warning in place for tonight, Highways England bosses have said that they are "monitoring" the wind speeds in the area and will issue updates regarding any possible closures.

The Orwell Bridge is prone to shutting in high winds, and is typically closed whenever winds reach Highways England's limit of 50mph.

In a tweet, Highways England responded to queries about the Orwell Bridge closure, saying that "it is highly likely" the bridge will shut.

They said: "Unfortunately we've had a weather update that breaches our protocol and it is looking highly likely we will be closing the bridge for 19:00 tonight until 23:00. We are having another call later this afternoon to confirm and we'll update you.

"Please prepare alternative arrangements for your journeys just in case we do close the bridge. You will see our Traffic Officers and Contractors at the scene from 17:00 installing the closure. We're having a final call later to see if we can avoid it."

Adam Dury, a weather forecaster for Weatherquest, said that Ipswich, being further inland, "could see winds speeds of 50-52mph".

He said: "Widely there will be gusts of 45-50mph across the region, but speeds will be nearer 55-60mph on the coast of Suffolk."

Wind speeds are set to rise from around 6pm, but Mr Dury says that the main peak of the winds will arrive between 9pm and 10pm - after the evening rush-hour.

He says that these gusts of wind will ease around midnight this evening.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for wind covering most of the east, south and west coasts of England on Tuesday.

More: Weather warning for strong winds on Tuesday - Orwell Bridge being 'monitored'

Mr Dury continued: "It will be fairly similar tomorrow, with 50-55mph winds inland and 60mph along the coast.

"The stronger winds will come earlier tomorrow, peaking around 7pm and continuing until the early hours of Wednesday morning."

The Met Office warning states that delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are likely.

There may also be disruption for drivers of high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges, and it's possible that some people may experience short term loss of power.

The warning states: "Southwesterly winds are expected to strengthen across much of England and Wales during Tuesday afternoon and evening.

"Gusts of 40 to 50 mph are expected quite widely inland, with exposed coasts and hills having gusts of around 60 mph, perhaps locally 70 mph.

"Heavy rain may be an additional hazard in places. Winds will ease from the west during Tuesday night."

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