Orwell Bridge variable speed innovation declared a success

A system which reduces the speed limit on the Orwell Bridge near Ipswich has meant the key route on the A14 has remained open in strong winds when in the past it would have had to be shut.

The scheme involves new SWARCO-built electronic signs on the bridge displaying enforceable, changeable driver speed limits, mandating speeds as slow as 40 mph depending on wind speed.  Until now the A14 bridge has had to be closed completely when wind speeds are deemed dangerous, but now will only need to be shut on the rare occasions that gusts over 60 mph are predicted.

The bridge’s existing 60 mph limit is already enforced using an average speed solution from Jenoptik, but due to the changeable speed limit, Jenoptik enhanced the existing installation to allow different speed limits to be enforced, when appropriate, when required by the wind speed management plan.

The East Anglian Daily Times reports Highways England lowered the usual limit to 40mph on Monday night and again on Tuesday morning during high winds, the bridge otherwise might have had to have been closed – resulting in traffic chaos in and around Ipswich.

Martin Fellows, Highways England regional director, told the paper, “The strong winds and gusts of over 50mph experienced on Monday resulted in us implementing the new 40mph speed restrictions on the Orwell Bridge for the first time.

“We are pleased that this went as planned and traffic was able to continue to safely cross the bridge at lower speeds despite the strong winds experienced.”

(Picture – Jenoptik)


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