Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bridgewater Place road set to reopen for rush hour

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Media captionBridgewater Place has been shut to vehicles between the Victoria Road junction and Water Lane junction.

Roads shut because of high winds around Leeds' tallest building are due to reopen having been closed for 10 hours.

The city council said Bridgewater Place between the Victoria Road and Water Lane junctions would be open to cars but not high-sided vehicles.

The closure came days after a coroner said action was needed at the inquest into the death of a man crushed when a lorry blew over outside the building.

Elsewhere, winds caused the evacuation of a shopping centre in Bramley.

The fire service said the evacuation had happened because of an unsafe roof at a Tesco store.

The closure at Bridgewater Place caused earlier disruption in the city centre with queuing traffic on the M621.

The strong winds around the 32-storey building left many pedestrians struggling to walk with reports of people clinging on to handrails.

Council worker Graham Lee said he had been helping people across the road.

Flights delayed

He said: "You're tripping over yourself all the time... I've never known it like this before."

Radio Leeds reporter Richard Edwards tweeted: "I've never seen wind like this before. Two men in high-vis jackets have just saved a woman from being blown into the road."

On 10 March 2011, Dr Edward Slaney, a 35-year-old environmental engineer from Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, was walking on a bridge over the River Aire in Neville Street when a lorry toppled over on to him.

The inquest into his death heard the area around the 367ft (112m) tower had become known for strong winds since it was completed in 2007.

Coroner Melanie Williamson said on Tuesday the junction should be closed to all users when gusts reached about 45mph.

The authority's current policy is to close the roads to vehicles, including bicycles, when wind speeds reached 65mph, with Thursday's closures being the first time it has been implemented.

Leeds City Council said high-sided vehicles would remain "diverted until further notice".

Elsewhere, police said there was "widespread disruption" across the county's road network.

Overturned lorries led to the closure of the A1 northbound at junction 39 as well as shutting two lanes on the M1 northbound near junction 41.

West Yorkshire Police said: "There are a number of additional road traffic collisions on the road network and motorists are advised to check travel information before making a journey."

Elsewhere, trees and debris blocked major and minor routes and passengers have been warned to expect delays at Leeds Bradford Airport, with some flights being cancelled.

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