A14: Solutions must be found following chaos – chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce
SOLUTIONS must be found.
That was the verdict of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce following two days of roads misery in Ipswich – initially caused by a lorry shedding its load of onions.
John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber chief executive, said the disruption caused by two accidents on the A14 would have significant implications for the county’s business community.
And he called for urgent investment in Suffolk’s road and rail links to prevent the gridlock endured by jaded motorists this week.
“Yesterday’s incidents show that existing and future investment to the rail infrastructure and A14, both areas that the Chamber has lobbied long and hard on, are needed now more than ever.
“Whilst these investments may be long term, a short term measure also needs to be considered.
“The A14 lacks resilience, more so than a motorway which has a hard shoulder.
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“Any incident on the A14, a road of national significance, causes tailbacks and gridlock. Like many important river crossings there is an emergency response team located within the vicinity all year round, therefore being able to act immediately to incidents, so saving much valuable time, such a measure should be implemented for the Orwell crossing.
“Solutions need to be found.”
Thousands of motorists were caught up in the heavy congestion which blighted huge parts of Ipswich throughout Wednesday and yesterday.
Mr Dugmore said the delays “clearly affected business and the wider community greatly”.
“Whilst the Chamber cannot give any accurate financial impact figures, anecdotal evidence of people not arriving for meetings, staff arriving late for work and deliveries arriving behind schedule, clearly had a negative impact on our economy,” he added.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has also spoken of her concerns in relation to the travel chaos.
She said: “Seven-and-a-half hours to clear an overturned lorry and its load of onions seems like an overly long time, especially as no-one was hurt.”
“I will take up this issue directly with ministers when Parliament returns later this month. It is important that we get traffic moving as soon as possible after any accident providing it is safe to do so.”
The chaos began at 6.50am on Wednesday when a lorry overturned near the Orwell Bridge, shedding its load of onions across both carriageways.
Police closed three lanes – the entire westbound carriageway and lane two heading in the opposite direction – for seven-and-a-half hours, flooding traffic into a gridlocked Ipswich.
But after finally fully reopening the bridge at 2.42pm, police officers were forced to close the same section 18 minutes later when three lorries collided on the westbound carriageway, close to the Seven Hills roundabout. That stretch didn’t re-open until yesterday afternoon.