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Traffic chaos as sinkhole leads to bridge closure

PUBLISHED: 15:40 03 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:36 04 June 2019

The sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

The sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

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Investigations are continuing after the discovery of a sinkhole led to a bridge being closed for safety reasons.

The sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick HowesThe sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

Widespread chaos was reported across Lowestoft on Monday after the town's Bascule Bridge was closed to northbound traffic for a number of hours.

The sinkhole opened up in the road close to the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft, with diversions put in place as police urged motorists to avoid the area.

With Highways England closing the A47 Bascule Bridge between its junctions with the A12 at Mill Road and the A1144 due to the emergency carriageway repair operation, they warned drivers to expect delays.

Major delays were reported throughout Lowestoft after the problem with the road surface was highlighted about 11am on Monday, June 3.

The sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick HowesThe sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

Police provided traffic control at the junction where London Road South meets Belvedere Road, with traffic unable to turn right towards the bridge.

Lengthy tailbacks were reported on Belevedere Road up to the Horn Hill roundabout, London Road South, Pier Terrace, Station Square and Waveney Road in Lowestoft, with subsequent delays in Oulton Broad.

The sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick HowesThe sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

A spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary added: "The local authority and Highways England are on scene investigating a problem with the road surface. The bridge has been closed."

With Anglian Water assessing the area of subsidence and what further action is required, Commercial Road is expected to remain open, although it may be closed if the emergency works are escalated.

A Highways England spokesman said: "We have deployed resources who are working hard to restore normal conditions as soon as possible.

"For traffic approaching the closure locally, you are advised to expect disruption with extra journey time and may potentially have to re-route your journey.

The sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick HowesThe sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

An Anglian Water spokesman said they were "working with Highways England" to assess the problem.

"The road closure is theirs, but the next step for us is to CCTV the sewers to see if there's a problem and then we'll be able to plan any next steps from there," the spokesman added.

The sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick HowesThe sinkhole, which has opened up on the A47 Station Square junction with Commercial Road in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

A spokesman for Lowestoft Vision - the town's business improvement district (BID) - said: "While inconvenient we understand that these things do happen.

"The town centre is still open for business as usual and we look forward to traffic flow returning to normal as soon as it can."

Keep up to date with the latest delays by viewing our Live Traffic Map.

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