Bridgewater Place road junction closure for high winds

People are being warned to plan ahead to avoid possible major disruption around Bridgewater Place tomorrow morning as roads will be closed due to expected exceptionally high winds.

Leeds City Council will shut the junction where Yorkshire’s tallest building stands due to the forecasts of high winds of up to 75mph.

No vehicles or cycles will be allowed along Victoria Road, Water Lane or Neville Street from around 6am until wind speeds drop to lower levels. A high-sided vehicle diversion at the junction will also be in place from midnight tonight

Meanwhile the council is carefully considering a recommendation from assistant coroner Melanie Williamson to shut the streets should wind speeds be lower- at around 45mph- to all users including pedestrians- and will report back to her within the statutory 56 days.

Her comments came as she gave her verdict yesterday that winds caused by Bridgewater Place did directly result in the death of Dr Edward Slaney when a passing lorry blew onto him.

She also ruled that Leeds City Council’s highways and planning decisions regarding the building were entirely appropriate, agreed with the council’s suggestion that the government should draw up national planning guidance on wind issues for tall buildings and put pressure on the building’s owners to bring forward their design solution for the problem as soon as possible.

Leeds City Council’s director of development Martin Farrington said:

“Given the high winds forecast and the known risk caused by Bridgewater Place we will close the roads around the building tomorrow. We appreciate the traffic disruption that this will cause, but these are exceptionally strong winds and we have to consider the safety of all road users.”

“While we need to take time to examine the coroner’s recommendations we would have had to close the junction tomorrow anyway due to the weather forecast. We apologise for the inconvenience and ask people who will be travelling in this area of the city to plan ahead.”

Notes to editors:

While pursuing the comprehensive design solution, Leeds City Council introduced a number of measures to combat the effects of high winds at Bridgewater Place.

Concrete barriers and guard railing were put in place in in April 2008, with the concrete barriers being replaced by guard railing later that year. A total 180 metres of guard rail was installed around the building.

High-sided vehicles over 7.5 tonnes were also diverted away from Neville Street when wind speeds topped 45mph from a westerly direction. This has recently been upgraded to a permanent ban on all HGVs from Victoria Bridge, whatever the weather conditions. Electronic warning signs to all road users are also automatically triggered at 35mph.

For media enquiries please contact:

Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335

Email donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk