Suffolk County Council has recently completed a structural assessment of Bridge Farm Bridge on the A1088 north of Stowlangtoft. The assessment has indicated that the bridge is unable to carry full highway loading safely and has concluded that a 7.5T Structural Weight Restriction needs to be applied to protect the structure and ensure the safety of highway users.
At present, temporary traffic signals have been put in place to restrict traffic to a single lane over the bridge as an interim measure before the structural weight restriction can be implemented. The traffic signals are a short-term measure to provide a level of protection to the weak bridge, and enable the road to remain open pending the introduction of the 7.5T structural weight restriction, which will provide a higher level of protection more appropriate for the longer-term and enable the temporary traffic signals to be removed. The 7.5T structural weight restriction will be put in place as soon as the signage has been designed, fabricated, and installed - This will take place early in 2022.
Signing will be placed at the location of the bridge, and advanced signing will be erected both North and South of the restriction to advise drivers. There will be no exemptions to this structural weight restriction for vehicles over 7.5T.
It has been agreed that the exemption permit scheme for the existing environmental weight limit that is in place along the A1088 between Ixworth and the A14 will remain, to allow wider use of the A1088 outside of the structural weight restriction at the bridge. However, the permit does not grant any holder an exemption to the structural weight restriction at the bridge, and any highway users in a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 7.5T will need to use the signed alternative lorry routes that avoid crossing the bridge.
Suffolk County Council will have the right to revoke any active permits if the holder has been reported to have intentionally breached the structural weight restriction.
To confirm, vehicles travelling with a gross vehicle weight of over 7.5T will still be permitted to use the A1088 either side of the bridge, provided that they have an exemption permit, but there will be no exemptions to allow use of the structurally restricted bridge.
Plan 1 (PDF, 193KB)
Plan 2 (PDF, 306KB)
Further information regarding the Next steps and FAQ’s are outlined below and will be updated as further information becomes available.
Responsibility for enforcement of weight restrictions lies with the Police and Trading Standards as part of SCC’s Lorry Watch Scheme. The Police Commercial Vehicle Unit and Trading Standards will be informed in advance of the new Structural Weight Restriction being implemented at the bridge, such that they are aware.
The Lorry Watch Scheme that is run by Trading Standards aims to help ensure that weight restriction traffic orders are not being abused. Any vehicle that is reported as having abused a weight restriction traffic order can be reported to the Lorry Watch team who will investigate and enforce in accordance with the scheme. For further details, please visit Lorry Watch scheme
There’s also a procedure in place to enable anyone to report a problem or incident with lorries and their drivers that are using inappropriate roads or routes.
For details on how to report a problem or incident with a HGV, please visit Report an incident with a heavy goods vehicle
Further investigation work will need to be undertaken to confirm the scope and details of the strengthening/reconstruction works that are required to enable the bridge to carry full unrestricted highway loading. Once the details of the works required have been confirmed the design of strengthening/reconstruction works required can commence, followed by works.
It’s not possible to confirm timescales until the scope/details of the strengthening/reconstruction works required have been confirmed - This page will be updated once this has been determined with anticipated timescales.
What alternative routes are available for vehicles with a Gross Weight greater than 7.5T?
Suffolk County Councils lorry route network can be found online via Lorry Route Network Map (PDF, 347KB)
What impact will the weight restriction at the bridge have on buses, emergency services, winter gritting?
No vehicles are exempt from the structural weight restriction at the bridge – The emergency services, and SCC’s Passenger Transport and winter service teams will be made aware of the weight restriction, such that they can make alternative arrangements. There is a list of consultees that will be contacted directly as part of the process of arranging for the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order that will need to be processed to support the signing, which includes the emergency services, freight/haulage associations, bus operators etc.