'Extensive' repairs continuing on Lowestoft sinkhole as bridge remains closed northbound
PUBLISHED: 17:18 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:18 04 June 2019
Work is continuing to repair a carriageway after the discovery of a sinkhole led to a bridge being closed for the second successive day.
With the A47 bascule bridge in Lowestoft remaining closed, emergency work has been continuing all day as Highways England and Anglian Water carry out the repairs.
A sinkhole opened up on the northbound carriageway of the A47 road at the junction between Station Square and Commercial Road - close to Papa John's Pizza - on Monday morning.
The town's Bascule Bridge was subsequently closed to northbound traffic, between its junctions with the A12 (Mill Road) and the A1144, but the southbound carriageway was kept open and pedestrians are still able to walk across the bridge.
An Anglian Water spokesperson said: "Our team are currently investigating the sinkhole which has appeared in Lowestoft on Commercial Road, which we were alerted to by Highways England yesterday afternoon.
"We don't know what has caused the sinkhole, but our investigations have found a section of sewer pipe which needs to be repaired under the damaged road.
"Due to the location of the pipe and a number of other utilities nearby including gas and electricity, this is a complicated repair which will require careful excavation, by hand, before we can begin any repairs to our pipework.
"Once the hole has been excavated our teams can properly assess the damage and give a better estimate of how long the repair will take.
"From tomorrow we will be working 24/7 to make a repair as quickly as possible. The road diversions will remain in place following consultation with the local highways authority. We are sorry for any disruption this will cause."
A Highways England spokesman said the work was "extensive" and would last until at least Wednesday evening (June 5).
A signed local diversion is available to drivers, but with the closure causing considerable traffic disruption in Lowestoft, there have been reports of gridlocked traffic at the height of rush hour and journeys have taken much longer across the town.
Buses have been delayed and East Suffolk Council's refuse collections in the town have been affected.
A post on the East Suffolk Council Facebook page said: "The considerable traffic disruption in Lowestoft is affecting refuse collections in the town and Norse may not be able to complete all scheduled rounds today (Tuesday).
"We have collection disruption in the Crestview Drive area, Gunton Estate, Northgate area and the Ipswich Road/Oxford Road areas.
"Meanwhile Elm Tree Road (blue and green) definitely won't be collected today (Tuesday) but will be picked up first thing tomorrow morning (Wednesday).
"Please leave your bin out as normal and if it is not collected today, we will endeavour to empty it tomorrow (Wednesday)."
A Highways England spokesman said: "This closure is due to an emergency carriageway repair operation and Highways England is working with utilities companies to restore normal conditions as soon as possible."
A spokesman for Anglian Water said that teams were working to fix the problem "as quickly as possible".
Business leaders in Lowestoft however stressed to shoppers that the town centre is still accessible, with a spokesman for Lowestoft Vision emphasising the town remains "open for business as usual".