Felixstowe: Blocked A14 highlights fire crew delay worries

TODAY’S blockage of the A14 on the Felixstowe peninsula shows exactly the chaos fire crews could face racing from Ipswich to an emergency on the coast.

It wasn’t a major accident which caused the miles of tailbacks and jammed the roads through Trimley St Martin, Trimley St Mary, Walton and Felixstowe – simply fuel spilled from a vehicle onto the road surface.

If it had taken place on the opposite carriageway – coming into Felixstowe instead of going out – then a fire crew would have faced a huge delay trying to push through the congestion or would have had to find an alternative route through the countryside.

It’s the second time the road has been blocked this year. The previous occasion did see the Felixstowe-bound carriageways closed after a man walking on the road was killed by a lorry.

Suffolk County Council is proposing to axe Felixstowe’s full-time day-time fire crews and leave all emergency cover in the hands of on-call firefighters, who will have to rely on fire crews coming from the new Ransomes Europark fire station as their back-up.

Retired retained firefighter Ian Heeley, a supporter of the Evening Star Save Our Fire Crews campaign, said today: “The chaos in Felixstowe, Walton and the Trimleys today has been appalling.

“Imagine if that was because of a blockage on the A14 in the other direction – a fire engine would have great difficulty getting through and people needing it would be sitting there worrying and waiting. Let’s hear the fire chiefs come up with some answers.”

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Mr Fry believes getting through crash congestion would make the journey to Felixstowe 15 minutes – five minutes extra.

“I think, with blue lights and sirens, we could make steady progress, not as much progress as if the road was clear, but very often we can get through quite high levels of congestion, especially on a dual carriageway where it is wide enough for other vehicles to shift out of the way and allow us down the middle,” he said.

“A major accident on the A14 and a major incident in Felixstowe together would be a rare scenario, but it is possible and we are not dealing with an exact science.”

? How do you think the cuts will affect you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN.

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