Traffic lights to be temporarily ripped out in Wherstead Road
Preparations are under way to move four enormous electrical reactors for Suffolk’s billion-pound off-shore wind farm – weighing as much as 150 elephants – from Ipswich to Bramford.
Ten police cars will escort the abnormal loads from Ipswich Docks to Wherstead Road and Bourne Bridge over two weekends – this weekend and the next.
In a major £30k project, traffic signals, street lighting columns, road signs and traffic islands will be removed from the area – and a stronger temporary structure will be installed over Bourne Bridge.
Built in Spain, the reactors are a key element of the £2.5bn East Anglia ONE Offshore wind farm.
Highways chiefs believe the improvements and removal of ‘street furniture’ are vital to get the load through the town.
Replacement signs and traffic signals are being replaced in new positions so other large loads can pass along the route with less disruption.
Suffolk Highways workers also plan to boost other infrastructure by illuminating signs, roundabout chevrons and street lights.
To minimise traffic disruption, the rolling road block will pass through Ipswich at the following times:
• Saturday, October 27 from 7am-8.30am
• Sunday, October 28 from 7am-10am
• Saturday, November 3 from 7am-8.30am
• Sunday, November 4 from 7am-10am
However, highways bosses have warned strong winds could delay the convoy.
Wherstead Road will be completely shut for short periods and on-street parking will be obstructed through Sproughton along B1113, High Street, Loraine Way and Bullen Lane.
What route will the ‘super’ abnormal loads take?
For drivers travelling eastbound on the A14, Suffolk Highways are diverting traffic from Ipswich docks to the A137 Hawes Street, Vernon Street, Star Lane, Grimwade Street, Duke Street, Holywells Road, Landseer Road, Nacton Road, A1189, A14 (J57), A14 (J56) and vice versa.
Will you be affected? Directions for the convoy are as follows:
• Left out of port and cross central reservation onto the northbound carriageway
• Cross Ostrich Creek Bridge on wrong side of road and turn right onto A137
• With a rolling road block in place, join the A14 in the wrong direction for one junction (56-55)
• Continue onto A14 junction 55 eastbound off-slip and turn tractor units around
• Turn left onto A1214 heading north
• Cross the roundabout continuing onto A1214
• At the traffic lights turn left onto A1071
• At the roundabout turn right onto B1113 and negotiate Sproughton
• Turn left onto Bullen Lane
Why is this happening? Suffolk’s highways chief explains:
Mary Evans, cabinet member for roads, transport and rural affairs at Suffolk County Council, said: “Moving these enormous pieces of structure from Ipswich Docks to Bramford is arguably one of the most challenging operations Suffolk Highways has managed to date.
“It has proved extremely challenging to find a safe and practical route.
“Our teams have worked incredibly hard with all parties to ensure this complex transportation is carefully planned to ensure the safety of the workers and members of the travelling public, whilst minimising inconvenience.
She added: “I am extremely proud of our highways teams who, on top of their day-to-day duties, have been able to facilitate the move whilst securing improved highway network infrastructure.”
Anger after delays left Wherstead Road closed for hours
PUBLISHED: 16:27 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:27 28 October 2018
The transformer stretching out across Wherstead Road Picture: KATY SANDALLS
Residents and businesses have expressed their anger and concern ahead of a second weekend of work to move an abnormal load following hours of delays which caused traffic chaos in Ipswich.
Some residents struggled to get out of their homes while others complained of long delays in surrounding areas as following the two days of work on Bourne Bridge and Wherstead Road.
Suffolk Highways had anticipated the road being closed for a short while on Saturday but due to a vehicle breakdown and operational difficulties the road ended up being closed for a lot longer.
One local business owner on the road said that the closure had led to a significant loss of takings for them on Saturday with them not opening on Sunday due to the moving of the load.
“I just think they have been a bit harsh on businesses,” said the owner.
“I understand that these things have to happen. I think there could have been a bit more organisation.”
Collette Allen, Ipswich Borough Councillor for the Bridge Ward said that she was concerned that the possibility of delays had not been made clearer.
“I am disappointed that it overran and that there wasn’t more forethought.”
Ms Allen said that one of her own colleagues had been stuck for an hour because of the work.
Many others were concerned about the timing of the road closures and the delays in work getting started.
Tracy Tenzing said: “It was supposed to be moved first thing but they didn’t start moving the signs etc. until gone 8.30!! Bad preparations!”
Amanda Williams added: “They’ve finally decided to close the roads at 11.45.. busiest time..Well done to Suffolk Highways.”
Some were concerned about the level of organisation surrounding the closures.
Fred Smith said: “Probably been two year’s in the planning and still can’t get it right!”
Writing on Twitter Suffolk Highways acknowledged that there had been delays but thanked those living close by:
“We would like to thank everyone for their patience so far, although we hope it has been some what entertaining. We appreciate that some disruption has been caused however, this is the safest way possible.”
A second load is due to leave the port next Sunday with road closures in place across the weekend.
Suffolk Highways were quick to arrest fears surrounding the second weekend of work: “We do not anticipate to face the same operational difficulties next weekend with the overbridge construction. The road will still need to be closed however, not for the same length of time as this weekend, resulting is less disruption
Not everyone was concerned by the load with many gathering on Wherstead Road from the early hours to see the vehicle move.
Enthusiast Paul Neal from Ipswich said: “We left home about 6.30am this morning and parked the car in the Ostrich. “We’ve been waiting in the rain ever since. Definitely worth waiting for.
“To have it in Ipswich is very special and I shall be here again next week watching it all over again.”