I was on my way to a 6.30pm lesson last night (6 February), heading north on the A52, and I noticed they were putting up cones on the southbound side. I thought ‘bloody idiots, doing roadworks at this time during the busiest rush hour of the week’ (Thursday is busier than Friday, usually).
Anyway, I finished my lesson and headed home along the A52 in the southbound direction. This was at around 8.15pm, and as I approached the QMC in free moving traffic, suddenly it was at a standstill. I remembered the cones from earlier, and quickly switched lanes, did a u-turn, and went via the city centre and Trent Bridge using all the side roads. I was heading for Asda in West Bridgford, and this was the best alternative way to get there.
Traffic was very heavy in Nottingham and over Trent Bridge. It wasn’t until I got home and came online that I discovered the reason for it all. They’ve been doing maintenance work on Clifton Bridge for a few weeks, and apparently they discovered a structural fault involving corroded steel yesterday. As a result, the southbound carriageway of the A52 is completely shut. I have read this morning that a second defect has been discovered. Until about 11.30am today, they had been saying that the bridge would be shut until at least midday.
The latest is that it will be shut until ‘early next week’. Google gives 13 February as the estimated date (and that’s late next week).
For anyone who doesn’t know, Clifton Bridge is actually two bridges. The first was built in 1958, and was a single carriageway road. By the late 60s, traffic congestion on the route was so severe that a second bridge was built right next to the first, and opened in 1972. Although the lane priorities have changed a couple of times over the years, the current configuration is that the old bridge carries three lanes northbound, and the new bridge carries one lane northbound, and four lanes southbound. This problem means that there is no southbound route, and the northbound is reduced by 25% (probably 50% or more in reality, since two of the four lanes don’t continue on the A52 anyway, but only flow on to Queens Drive for all practical purposes, which is on the diversion route as detailed below).
You can imagine the problems this has caused. The diversion route – four lanes’ worth of traffic, which is frequently at a virtual standstill heading towards the A1 (south) and the M1 (J24) – is being diverted into a single lane, along Queens Drive, past the railway station, along London Road and Trent Bridge, then either through Wilford (M1) or West Bridgford (M1, A1). It was bad enough at 8.15 last night, but I can’t wait to see what happens this afternoon with the earlier Friday rush hour. Northbound will be extremely heavy due to the lost lane. Google already shows stationary traffic on Queens Drive and along London Road/Trent Bridge (at 1.30pm).
I’ve cancelled my whole day. Even if I could get out to pupils, for most of them we wouldn’t be able to get anywhere once I did.
Update: Be careful out there. It’s gridlock on some roads for most of the day right now.
Update 8/2/2020: The latest update is that it will be closed until ‘at least Wednesday’ – which is 12th February. And note it says ‘at least’.
Update 11/2/2020: I saw a report this evening that said they were planning to open one lane on the bridge in time for the end of the Forest match tonight. A later report says they’re not now able to do that because the safety barriers aren’t installed yet.
Update 15/2/2020: They opened up a single lane on 12/2/2020, and even at 8pm last night (14th) traffic was very slow moving (largely because of prats racing up in the left-hand lane for the city centre, then forcing their way in near the lane-merge through the cones). There’s also a 30mph speed limit in force. During the day, queues are still back to the QMC.
Update 23/0/2020: In case anyone hasn’t heard, the bridge is now expected to be substantially the way it is now until the end of the year. It certainly won’t be fully open for at least 9 months!