High winds and Flintshire Bridge – How the council decides when to close it.
“Is the bridge open today” it’s by far the most common question Deeside.com gets asked on windy days.
The council will give some warning of an impending closure and tend to pop an update on social media prior to the bridge shutting, as will North Wales Police.
One way of quickly finding out if it has closed is to do a quick twitter search click: “Flintshire Bridge” will bring up the latest updates and of course comments.
What is 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.
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