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A14 drivers to face delays and Orwell Bridge set to close as huge 184 tonne transformer is driven along busy road at just 12mph from Ipswich to Newmarket




Drivers have been warned they could be stuck behind a 184 tonne transformer on the A14, with the Orwell Bridge set to close for half and hour as it is driven across Suffolk at just 12mph.

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

The transformer, which is more than eight metres long, four metres tall and five metres wide, will be moved along the A14 throughout the day, and drivers have been warned there could be delays along the busy westbound carriageway.

National Grid are set to transport a huge transformer the size of a bungalow across Suffolk. Picture: National Grid (47886366)
National Grid are set to transport a huge transformer the size of a bungalow across Suffolk. Picture: National Grid (47886366)

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."

The Orwell Bridge, which carries 60,000 drivers across the River Orwell every day, is set to be temporarily closed as a huge transformer is driven across it.
The Orwell Bridge, which carries 60,000 drivers across the River Orwell every day, is set to be temporarily closed as a huge transformer is driven across it.

The transformer will leave Ipswich Docks at 8am and is expected to arrive at Burwell Substation the same day, between 6pm and 9pm.

Moving the transformer will mean the Orwell Bridge will be shut at 9am for around 30 minutes to allow the convoy to cross is safely.

Rachel Sheridan, Highways England Project Manager, said: "Throughout its journey we will look to keep disruption to drivers and people who live, work and are travelling in the area, to a minimum but recommend people plan ahead if they’re looking to use a similar route.”

National Grid are set to transport a huge transformer the size of a bungalow across Suffolk. Picture: National Grid (47886363)
National Grid are set to transport a huge transformer the size of a bungalow across Suffolk. Picture: National Grid (47886363)

The route the transformer will be following is:

  • Leave Ipswich Docks via the A1189 and on the A14 at junction 57 and head eastbound;
  • It will turn around at junction 58 and head westbound on the A14;
  • It will continue along the A14 and crossing the Orwell Bridge, which will be closed at around 9am for around 30 minutes;
  • The convoy is expected to stop at points including junctions 55 and 51 to allow traffic to go past.
  • It will exit the A14 at junction 50 and take roads including the A1120 and A1308 to rejoin the A14 at junction 49;
  • There will be a brief rest stop for the vehicle crew in a layby about half a mile from junction 49, which will also allow traffic to pass;
  • The transformer will then continue until junction 43, where it will exit to avoid the low bridge at the same junction, and then will re-enter the eastbound carriageway. This will be repeated at junction 42;
  • Once back on the A14 it will travel for a further 11 miles before it enters onto the wrong side of the road, eastbound, just before junction 37 to come off at the Newmarket exit. Temporary lane closures on the westbound and a full closure on the eastbound carriageway will be in place at this point;
  • It will then travel along the A142, Fordham Road, the B1102 and other roads until it reaches the Nation Grid substation in Burwell.

Residents in Burwell have been urged by project engineers to avoid parking on the street or pavement between 6pm and 9pm tomorrow on Ness Road, High Street, Reach Road and Weir Road so it can easily be delivered.

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