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Huge traffic tailbacks as elaborate bomb hoax shuts bridge for 24 hours

By Brendan McDaid

Traffic chaos was caused in Londonderry city centre after a suspected pipe-bomb was discovered on the top deck of Craigavon Bridge.

The bridge was closed for six hours yesterday after police cordoned off the upper deck of the two-tier bridge following the morning rush hour. Police were alerted to the discovery at 9.52am.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were put on alert yesterday as it emerged gas supplies to the entire west bank of the city may have to be shut off to enable Army technical officers to conduct tests.

However bomb disposal experts later confirmed that the move was not necessary for its officers to proceed.

Craigavon Bridge is the main link between Derry City Centre and the Waterside area of the city.

Major tailbacks were caused yesterday afternoon with the Spencer Road area of the Waterside and the John Street/Abercorn end of the city centre gridlocked for much of the day as traffic was diverted.

Yesterday's alert came seven months after an elaborate hoax bomb resulted in the bridge being closed off for more than 24 hours.

It was reopened the following evening with police describing it as a “sophisticated hoax”.

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