Posted: Sun 27th Jan 2019

Flintshire Bridge reopens following earlier closure due to high winds

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jan 27th, 2019

Update: Flintshire Bridge has reponed this evening following its closure for much of the day due to high winds, the A548 over the River Dee reopened at around 7.30pm.

Despite being closed for hours no reports or alerts had been posted on social media or traffic websites.

INRIX which provides traffic updates said earlier “police mistakenly informed the road was open when it remained closed.”

Earlier report: High winds coming up along the Dee Estuary have caused a few issues locally with the odd tree blown over and trampolines flying into neighbouring gardens.

Several people have been in touch to tell us Flintshire Bridge is also closed.

The council usually gives some sort of warning of an impending closure and tend to pop an update on social media prior to the bridge shutting, as will North Wales Police.

Today however there have been no warning or messages, INRIX the ‘go-to’ source for the latest traffic alerts doesn’t show any warning the bridge is closed.

No warning of the bridge closure has been published on Traffic Wales website – the Welsh Government agency tasked with managing the A548 over the River Dee.

However, traffic maps and apps which utilises Google’s traffic data do show the bridge is indeed shut to traffic.

Google Traffic works by analysing the GPS-determined locations transmitted to Google by a large number of mobile phone users.

By calculating the speed of users along a length of road, Google is able to generate a live traffic map.

[A traffic map which uses the Google Traffic API]

Rob has also been in touch to say that both Greenfield and the new Oakenholt recycling centres (council tips) are closed for “health & safety” reasons, again no warnings have been given.

Constant wind speeds, measured at the Hawarden weather station today have peaked (so far) at around 35mph, with the strongest gust of wind recorded in the past 24 hours at 52mph which was at 10am.

So, whats the criteria the council uses when it decides to close the bridge?

Flintshire County Council (FCC) receive daily weather forecasts for the following three days via e-mail.

Forecasts are reviewed daily by a Duty Officer to anticipate any likely restrictions and resources required to implement a bridge closure or lane closures.

When wind gusts are forecast over 50 mph within the next 24 hours the Duty Officer will ring their weather service provider and seek advice from a forecaster of the risk of high winds.

The criteria for closing Flintshire Bridge.

Based on the advice of the forecaster the Duty Officer will decide on any necessary restriction will need to be put in place

The council says experience has shown that a planned closure based on forecasts is preferable to waiting until wind speeds increase and reacting to them at short notice.

“If a closure is planned, due to a forecast advice from weather service provider, the council press office should be informed immediately so they can list the closure on the council web site and inform local radio stations in advance of the closure.” The council says.

In exceptional circumstances a down-wind lane closure can be implemented to allow the bridge to remain open for wind speeds above 55 mph.

Generally this method of restriction would only be considered when there is advance notice of anticipated high wind speeds over a prolonged period.

A down-wind lane closure provides an empty lane in the event that a vehicle is blown off course or blown over, in addition traffic speed is generally reduced.

For down-wind lane closures there will be a slow lane closure on one carriageway and a fast lane closure on the other.

If a full closure is decided upon, the duty officer will arrange for warning and diversion signs to be deployed and for the
bridge to be close.

The police will inform the media and other emergency services of the closure.

If a lane closure is decided upon the Duty Officer will arrange this and inform FCC Street works Section and the Police.

Should no immediate action is required, the situation will be monitored by the Duty Officer until the risk of high winds has receded.

If a restriction/closure is implemented the Duty Officer will monitor the situation and contact the Police to keep them informed of the anticipated re-opening time.

When the weather improves the Duty Officer will decide on a time for the removal of any restriction.

Main Picture taken by Mark Atkins – Sunday January 27. 

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