Felixstowe roads blocked

ROADS around Felixstowe port were brought to a standstill early today as dockers tried to get to grips with a backlog of trucks arriving to collect and deliver cargo.

ROADS around Felixstowe port were brought to a standstill early today as dockers tried to get to grips with a backlog of trucks arriving to collect and deliver cargo.

Even portworkers were caught up in the gridlock - adding to the problems as they were needed to deal with the huge number of lorries.

As people headed for work it was more Operation Stuck than Operation Stack with the port choc-a-bloc and nowhere to get the trucks off the road.

Strong winds caused the closure of the port yesterday as gusts of over 45mph made it unsafe for the high-rise quayside cranes to operate and for container yard workers to move boxes.

Operation Stack was brought in with hundreds of vehicles sent to wait in queues on the old A45 at Levington, parallel to the A14.

As winds died down, police lifted Operation Stack at 9.30pm, and cleared the Levington holding area.

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But portworkers were unable to deal with around 250 lorries already on the port and those arriving from the hold by breakfast-time with more trucks arriving all the time.

It left the area around the port, particularly Trinity Avenue, Walton Avenue and the Port of Felixstowe Road leading to Dock Gate One and Two, jammed with traffic.

A police spokesman said: “We have a lot of vehicles all trying to get into the Port of Felixstowe this morning - it's like trying to squeeze too many into too small a space at one time.

“It's a real logjam and we are trying to sort it out as quickly as possible.

“Hopefully, if we can get some of the workers through the traffic to the dock they can help resolve it.”

Operation Stack works in conjunction with a ticket system and lorries are not supposed to leave the Levington site until they have been issued with a ticket and a slot is waiting for them at the port.

There is also a vehicle booking system which works on a daily basis but is suspended when the port is closed in windy conditions.

The team behind Operation Stack - which includes port officials, police, highways and council officers - have expected teething troubles with the new system, which came into force in March and has only been used a few times so far. Further meetings are planned to assess its progress.

What went wrong? Were you caught up in the chaos? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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