December 8 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Suffolk police commissioner Tim Passmore has launched a fierce attack on the Highways Agency – and called for local farmers and contractors to be called in to keep the county’s busiest road running.
He spoke out as he launched his latest monthly priority – keeping traffic flowing on the A14 at what is traditionally a difficult time of the year for the road.
His move comes nearly a year after the authorities came under fire for taking a day to clear the road near the Orwell Bridge after a lorry carrying onions shed its load on the highway.
Mr Passmore said: “We have to take action to make sure when there is a fairly minor accident the whole road comes to a halt – and I don’t think the Highways Agency is good enough.
“It was ridiculous when the road was closed for nearly a day after the onion lorry shed its load. The first Highways Agency officer took two hours to arrive.
“Why don’t they pay a retainer to farmers or contractors along the road on the condition that if the road needs clearing they will be there within say 30 minutes?” he added.
A new powerful Land Rover is now being used to patrol the A14. In an emergency it has enough power to pull a stricken HGV to the side of the road.
Mr Passmore said police officers shared his frustration at the time it sometimes took to clear roads after a major incident – especially when Highways Agency equipment had to be brought in from other parts of the country that was similar to equipment commonly in use on farms in the area.
A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said they worked with specialist equipment to ensure roads were safe when they reopened after crashes.
She added: “Safety is our top priority and we work with partners and the emergency services to reopen carriageways as soon as it is safe to do so following incidents.”