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Updated: MADE IT! Massive transformer completes journey to Burwell Substation from coast

A massive 184 tonne transformer inched along the A14 across Suffolk at just 12mph to reach its final destination near Newmarket.

The abnormal load reached Burwell Substation bang on schedule early this evening.

The electricity transformer, the size of a bungalow, was driven from Ipswich Docks to a National Grid substation just outside Newmarket.

The transformer, which is more than eight metres long, four metres tall and five metres wide, started at Ipswich, moved along the A14 and over the Orwell Bridge and on to Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket - where it had to go the wrong way along the A14 for a short distance.

Drivers were warned there could be delays along the busy westbound carriageway.

But David Oglesby, National Grid project manager, said it was vital the equipment was upgraded to keep the lights on across the county.

"Millions of people rely on us to supply their electricity without interruption, day in, day out, so it's important that we keep our substations and the equipment in them working efficiently," he said.

"The delivery of this transformer to our Burwell site will ensure we are able to continue to deliver power reliably to the local area."

Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Ipswich, Operational Highways and Flooding, Cllr Paul West said: “Months of logistical planning goes into these moves so I would like to thank those involved at Suffolk Highways, as well as Highways England and Suffolk Police who will also play a crucial part on the day.

“Whilst we aim to complete the move with limited disruption, there may be some inconvenience caused, so your patience as ever is very much appreciated."

The route the transformer followed was:

  • Leave Ipswich Docks via the A1189 and on the A14 at junction 57 and eastbound;
  • Turn around at junction 58 and westbound on the A14;
  • Along the A14 and crossing the Orwell Bridge, which closed for 30 minutes;
  • The convoy stopped at points including junctions 55 and 51 to allow traffic to go past.
  • It exited the A14 at junction 50, took roads including the A1120 and A1308 to rejoin the A14 at junction 49; brief rest stop for the vehicle crew in a layby about half a mile from junction 49;
  • The transformer then continued to J43, exiting to avoid the low bridge at the same junction, and then re-entered eastbound carriageway. This will be repeated at junction 42;
  • Back on the A14 for a further 11 miles before going onto the wrong side of the road, eastbound, just before junction 37 coming off at the Newmarket exit. Temporary lane closures on the westbound and a full closure on the eastbound carriageway in place at this point;
  • Then A142, the B1102 and other roads to the substation in Burwell.
Suffolk Highways - the transformer at Ipswich Docks (47918071)
Suffolk Highways - the transformer at Ipswich Docks (47918071)

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