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A140: Answers given over time taken to re-open road after lorry crash

PUBLISHED: 06:00 24 January 2014

A lorry overturned on the A140 near Little Stonham and took down overhead cables. The lorry was carrying tuna and washing up liquid.

A lorry overturned on the A140 near Little Stonham and took down overhead cables. The lorry was carrying tuna and washing up liquid.

Police and council bosses have defended the time taken to re-open a major road which was closed for 14 hours after a lorry crashed into a telegraph pole.

Highways officials and police shut the A140 at Little Stonham, from around 3.30pm on Wednesday to about 5.30am the following morning as an articulated lorry which was lying in a field by the road had to be recovered.

The vehicle had crashed into a telegraph pole at around 10.40am spreading tuna tins and washing-up liquid into the field. Early estimates said the road – which links Ipswich and Norwich – could be closed for five hours.

But in the end motorists were forced to use diversion routes until 5.30am yesterday.

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said he would be carrying out an “urgent review” into why the road was closed for that amount of time.

He said the diversions which were put into place had led to “chaos”.

Last night police said they would see whether any “lessons could be learnt”.

A spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “The scene on the A140 was a particularly difficult one for emergency services to deal with.

“Not only was the lorry on its side and the driver trapped but there were also live cables that had been damaged and were resting on the vehicle.”

The driver, believed to be in his 30s, was trapped for an hour-and-a-half before he was released and taken to hospital with minor injuries.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said highways engineers were called at around 1.30pm on Wednesday to complete a road closure which was in place by 3.30pm.

He said: “Whilst we weren’t directly involved in it, we understand the lorry recovery proved particularly difficult because of its position on the muddy field.

“We have also received reports of some motorists driving counter to the diversion routes – which caused congestion on the small rural roads involved.”

Highways engineers were called out again to clean the road at about 3.15am after the lorry had been removed from the field.

Matthew Hicks, Conservative county councillor for the area, said although the road had been closed for a “long period of time” the lorry’s recovery had been done “as fast as it could have been”.

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