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A14: Police to investigate ‘dangerous’ slip road from Shell garage after four-vehicle crash near Orwell Bridge this morning

PUBLISHED: 18:06 05 March 2014 | UPDATED: 09:30 06 March 2014

The A14 heading west towards the Orwell Bridge.

The A14 heading west towards the Orwell Bridge.

Police will investigate whether a “dangerous” garage slip-road on the A14 led to a four-vehicle crash near the Orwell Bridge which caused misery for morning commuters.

Three cars and a van were involved in a collision westbound between the Shell filling station and the Orwell Bridge at around 7.45am today, police said.

The outside lane was closed for nearly two hours before reopening at 9.35am when all four vehicles had been recovered.

One man in his 40s suffered neck injuries not thought to be life-threatening and was taken to Ipswich Hospital for further treatment.

Police are investigating the collision and said all lines of inquiries, including whether the slip-road from the Shell garage may have been a factor, will be considered.

Posting comments on our website, one reader described the slip-road as “dangerous”, adding there is “no proper slip-road to speak of” leaving motorists with “no room for error”.

The crash comes after plans were agreed to introduce a new speed limit to cut accidents on the Orwell Bridge by the end of the summer.

The new limit, likely to be 60mph, is expected to cover the approach to the bridge on both sides, including the problematic garage sliproad.

Speaking in January, Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said there were “no immediate plans” to improve the slipway itself, but explained that it was “still on the agenda” and could be considered if the other alterations did not fully resolve the problems.

Tonight, Inspector Darren Elliot, of Suffolk Constabulary, said if a number of collisions take place on the same stretch of road, this will be “analysed and discussed so that solutions can found”.

He said: “The causes of all serious collisions are studied by police and partner agencies such as the Highways Agency in order to see if there are any engineering or enforcement solutions that can be put in place so that further collisions can be avoided.

“We would always advise motorists to leave sufficient distance between themselves and the vehicle in front, particularly in areas where there are on and off slips and to be aware of vehicles that are looking to move in to your lane.”

When asked if the Shell garage slip-road was deemed a safety hazard which may have contributed to the crash, a Highways Agency spokesman said: “This morning’s incident is still being investigated by the police so it would be inappropriate to comment on causation at this stage.”

However, the spokesman said that any data that suggests that a change to the road layout would deliver safety benefits is “considered very carefully indeed”.

“Safety is our top priority and we constantly monitor safety in the Orwell Bridge area of the A14 as we do across our network,” she added.

“A scheme is planned to further improve safety between junctions 56 and 57. This will introduce a permanent speed limit with associated signs and road markings.”

Yesterday’s accident involved a Vauxhall Vivaro van, a Fiat Panda, a Renault Scenic and a Hyundai i20.

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No serious injuries have been reported from the collision

A Suffolk charity has announced its guest speaker at an annual conference that in previous years has attracted the likes of Professer Stephen Hawking and his former wife and author, Jane.

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A boy has appeared in court charged with robbery in Ipswich.

The Orwell Bridge is now expected to remain open on Thursday after the threat of high winds overnight eased.

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