Humber Bridge closes after winds overturn lorry

Humber Bridge
Humber Bridge
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The Humber Bridge was closed completely after a lorry overturned in high winds.

Police had earlier closed the bridge to high-sided vehicles.

Humberside Police’s road traffic unit tweeted: “*** HUMBER BRIDGE CLOSED IN BOTH DIRECTIONS *** please avoid the area and make alternative routes.”

It later posted: “VERY WINDY ON THE BRIDGE !!! But recovery well under way !!!”.

The Highways Agency tweeted: “#HumberBridge is now closed to ALL vehicles due to strong winds. Pls take an alternative route.”

Drivers in the area reported widespread congestion caused by the closure, which was put in place after the lorry overturned close to one of the bridge’s 150-metre high support towers.

It comes as rail services on the East Coast services from Kings Cross to Leeds City Station were delayed, with some reports of cancellations.

A fallen tree had caused delays on the Ouse Bridge on the M62 and the Humber Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles

There were also reports of Ryanair planes being diverted from Leeds to Newcastle.

Roads around the Bridgewater Place skyscraper in Leeds were shut as the city was buffeted by high winds.

Leeds City Council said the closure was likely to remain in force “for some time”.

Diversion routes are in operation for vehicles and pedestrians.

The area around the base of Bridgewater Place can be gripped by a dangerous wind tunnel effect during stormy weather.

Pedestrian Edward Slaney, from Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, was crushed to death by a truck that was blown off its wheels close to the building in 2011.

Site owner CPPI Bridgewater Place Limited Partnership says work will start in August on the construction of a series of large-scale safety barriers and screens at the landmark 32-storey building.

In Hampshire a tug was rescued at the Esso refinery marine terminal at Fawley where the Asterix had got into difficulties.

One person was seen to jump in the water and was taken to the shore to be treated for hypothermia.

But an employee at the Fawley refinery spotted that a man remained in the vessel and jumped into the water to help rescue him.

A Cowes lifeboat spokesman said: “A Fawley emergency employee who was watching the capsized vessel from the pontoon then just glimpsed an arm in a small pocket of air behind a window.

“Without hesitation, the employee leapt into the water, smashed the window and extracted the trapped crew member.”

A coastguard said that all crew in the incident, at around 7.15pm yesterday, had been accounted for.

There were winds up to 70mph overnight in parts of North Wales, the Bristol Channel and East Anglia and, with April beginning tomorrow, snow was forecast for higher ground in Scotland.

Fallen trees blocked railway lines, and busy road-bridge routes had to be closed, including the Dartford Crossing QEII Bridge on the M25, and the M48 Severn Bridge.

The high winds led to trains running at reduced speed in north west England, with delays of up to an hour in the Warrington Bank Quay/Oxenholme Lake District area and in the Carnforth area.

A tree on the line led to delays between Exeter St Davids in Devon and Taunton in Somerset, while another fallen tree meant hold-ups between Salisbury in Wiltshire and Romsey in Hampshire.

A tree on the line also caused delays to trains between Aylesbury and London.

In East Anglia, overhead wire problems between Diss and Stowmarket were causing delays of up to an hour to services between Norwich and Ipswich.

To add to commuters’ problems, a signalling problem led to delays to trains between Brighton and Haywards Heath in Sussex.

There were long delays on the M5 southbound near Worcester due to an accident.

On the River Thames in London, a promotional event for the new Thunderbirds TV show was cancelled.

Met Office forecaster Kirk Waite said: “While the winds should gradually ease, it’s going to stay a pretty windy day.

“The north west of the country is going to see some quite blustery showers moving in - it’s probably going to see the strongest winds today.”

While there may be a slight let-up, Mr Waite said the best that could be expected were “some sunny spells”.

Looking forward to Easter, Mr Waite said the weekend will be breezy to begin with but things should “gradually quieten down”.