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Revealed: Highways England explain A14 flooding closure

PUBLISHED: 19:30 28 November 2019

Traffic cameras showed very heavy traffic on the A14 Picture: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

Traffic cameras showed very heavy traffic on the A14 Picture: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

Highways chiefs have said they are still investigating the drain blockage which caused the A14 to close and delays for thousands of motorists on Wednesday - but insisted that routes are checked weekly.

The westbound carriageway was closed between 5.30am and 8am on Wednesday between Claydon and Copdock, causing huge delays for frustrated motorists.

The road was closed because of flooding, which Highways England has now confirmed was because plastic sheeting was blocking the drains, and said there was not an issue with drainage on the road as a whole.

There was also a collision on the slip road near Claydon.

A spokesman from Highways England said: "The standing water was caused by a build up of debris which were removed by the police, after which the water swiftly dissipated.

"The drain blockage was due to plastic sheeting thatching the gully which resulted in the road flooding after a long period of rainfall. Once this was removed, the standing water cleared very quickly.

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"The route is inspected weekly.

"Obviously if a gully is covered or blocked by debris, as in this instance, the drainage system will be blocked.

"The fact the water flowed away quickly once it was clear again shows the drainage system is working as it should.

"We'll keep having further discussions with our partners about why this happened, as it's currently unclear if the blockage was related to the crashed car or not."

The closure reignited calls for fresh investment in the A14 by business leaders, who said it was vital the route remained open because it was the main corridor for Port of Felixstowe traffic and the rest of the UK.

According to Weatherquest, there had been a lot of overnight rainfall but was not considered to be out of the ordinary.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Dugmore said: "Whether due to Orwell Bridge closures, flooding incidents or accidents at the key junctions, these show that our stretch of the A14 is inadequate and vulnerable to such disruptions.

"Not only are businesses losing money and orders being delayed, but the reputation of the county has a great place to do business is being undermined."

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