Roads are closed when there is no safe alternative way of carrying out roadworks, including using temporary traffic lights or "stop/go" boards. Closures can also be put in place for events on the highway such as sporting events, markets and processions, and for incidents and emergencies. Sometimes road closures are put in place to prevent traffic congestion when joining a road where works exist, for example where one end of the closed road intersects where traffic may be queued at temporary traffic lights.
When a road is closed, a diversion route must be put in place to guide vehicles from one end of the closure to the other, and the route traffic is diverted round must be signed to guide traffic. Occasionally diversion routes for different road closures cross over each other and in these cases, a symbol is placed on the signs on one of the routes so highway users know which signs to follow.
The following information provides the answers to frequently asked questions we receive when road closures and diversions are put in place.
Why are diversion routes sometimes so long when there are shorter routes available?
Diversion routes must be of the same or higher category of road as the road which has been closed in order to cope with the same types of vehicles which would have been expected to use the closed road. In some rural locations where this is not possible, a lesser category route may be agreed if there is no other alternative.
Only diversion routes approved by us can be signed for use, but there are often alternative or locally known routes vehicles may choose to use. We have no powers to prevent highway users using these alternative routes.
Who is responsible for road closures and diversion routes
Road closures, diversion routes and signing are the responsibility of the individual or organisation requesting the closure, details of which can be found on the works signs and public information board on roadworks sites or on roadworks.org. We are not allowed to unreasonably refuse applications for road closures, but all applications are scrutinised for necessity and all other traffic management and works methods are considered before a closure is agreed. Once a closure has been agreed, we are required to issue a legal order authorising the closure for roadworks or for safety reasons.
How can I find details of the closure and diversion route?
Vehicles are not using the signed diversion route
In cases of illegal road use, for example where HGV’s are using routes protected by a weight restriction where the weight restriction has not been suspended, or other traffic issues, the police should be informed.
There was no need to close the road - a car can get through easily
Closures are granted when the required minimum width of a road cannot be maintained using any other method of traffic management. Traffic cannot be selectively managed through a closure, therefore closures apply to all road users with the exception of pedestrians and cyclists unless otherwise specified in the legal order.
Why aren't temporary traffic lights used instead of a road closure?
By law, work sites must include specified space around their works as a safety zone and in some cases a pedestrian walk way must be provided. If the remaining area does not meet the minimum width required by law, then a closure must be put in place.
My property/business is within the closure - will I be able to get to it?
Access will be maintained to properties within the closure - pedestrians and cyclists are able to access properties/businesses within a road closure area, although cyclists may be asked to dismount. There is no legal requirement to provide access to vehicles at all times and occasionally there may be a short delay while the site is made safe to enable access to or from your property, for example to cover excavations or move equipment. Please follow instructions from site staff.
If you have any concerns about accessing your property or you would like additional information signs advising people that businesses are open as usual, please raise these directly with the organisation carrying out the works - you can find details on roadworks.org.
Will emergency services be able to access my property?
We send all agreed closures and information regarding the diversion routes to Fire, Police and Ambulance Services in advance of road closures (except if they have to be implemented as a result of an emergency situation). Details of works and diversion routes are also maintained on roadworks.org.
Will buses still be running on the closed road?
Our Passenger Transport team is consulted during the road closure application process. They do their best to maintain regular bus services, but in instances where it is not possible to maintain a service, the bus stops will be suspended and the bus will be diverted. Please refer to www.suffolkonboard.com ‘News’ section for information on diversions and suspensions.
Will school transport still be running on the closed road?
Our Passenger Transport team is consulted during the road closure application process. They do their best to maintain school transport, but if this is not possible, alternative arrangements will be made and users of those services will be notified.
The road was closed for works which have finished but the signs are still there
Please let us know by contacting our contacting our Customer Service team - please select Highways in the list of services.
The road is closed but no work is being carried out
There are a number of reasons a site can be closed whilst no works are taking place. However, if you feel a road is unnecessarily closed please let us know by contacting our Customer Service team - please select Highways in the list of services.
How can I apply for a road closure?
Please read how to apply to close a road on this website.