End to Stack chaos in sight

AN end to the traffic chaos caused by Operation Stack is today finally in sight . . . more than seven months after Evening Star revealed the solution to the problem.

AN end to the traffic chaos caused by Operation Stack is today finally in sight . . . more than seven months after Evening Star revealed the solution to the problem.

New arrangements to stop lorries causing gridlock when Felixstowe port closes are to be introduced in March.

The official announcement comes in the week the port is trying out its new vehicle booking system (VBS), which aims to cut the number of trucks arriving at peak times - and spread their arrival over the day.

Together it is hoped the VBS and parking the lorries on the old A45 at Levington will reduce the problems when the container terminal is forced to close when winds hit 45mph, making it unsafe for quayside cranes to operate.

At present the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road is turned into a giant lorry park - paralysing the area at peak times, leading to jams up to seven miles long and creating chaos in the twin Trimley villages.

Guy McGregor, the county's transport spokesman, said he was pleased the agencies involved in Operation Stack had at last reached agreement.

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“It was vital we investigated the impacts on the roads and the local communities before we considered the new route,” he said.

Mike Wherrett, regional divisional director for the Highways Agency, welcomed the agreement between all parties for the new Operation Stack procedures, which will remove the congestion caused by the use of the final section of A14 on the approach to the port to stack lorries.

“This new arrangement will also improve the safety for our highway workers, police officers, lorry drivers and the general public,” he said..

“We shall be working closely with Suffolk police and the county council to minimise any disruption on the A14 and local roads in the vicinity of the new stacking area on the old A45.”

The new arrangements - revealed by the Evening Star in June last year - will come into force on March 1.

About 1,000 truckers will be able to park in their own yards and about 250 on the port.

After that drivers will be issued with tickets and sent to Levington via the Seven Hills interchange - and only those with tickets will be allowed into the port when it reopens.

Before the new arrangements go live there will be full briefings for hauliers and the community.

Is parking lorries at Levington the best solution? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk


At the moment more than 4,000 lorries visit Felixstowe port each day - numbers will grow by more than 50 per cent as the dock expands in the next decade.

Of those 4,000, more than 1,600 arrive within a six hour period - the peak coming between 4pm and 7pm each day, even though the port is open 24 hours a day.

Under the new VBS drivers will be asked to pre book a container delivery or collection time and will be allocated hour long time slots for their visit.

After negotiations with port users it has been agreed not to charge for peak period bookings, but there will still be a fee of £21 for truckers failing to turn up in the allotted time.

There will be an exchange system set up to allow hauliers to swap slots if their drivers encounter problems on the road and get delayed.