Jams on A14 as wind closes port

ONE of Suffolk's busiest stretches of road was turned into a giant lorry park today as gales closed Britain's biggest container port.Operation Stack was put in place on the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road just before 10am as wind speeds hit 45mph - making it too dangerous for the high-rise quayside cranes to load and unload ships.

Richard Cornwell

ONE of Suffolk's busiest stretches of road was turned into a giant lorry park today as gales closed Britain's biggest container port.

Operation Stack was put in place on the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road just before 10am as wind speeds hit 45mph - making it too dangerous for the high-rise quayside cranes to load and unload ships.

Some 250 lorries were immediately parked up on the port complex, and many of the 1,000 spaces in haulage yards surrounding the docks were quickly filled.


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But this still left lengthy queues of trucks on the A14 from the dock spur roundabout to Dock Gate One, causing congestion around the edge of the town and frustration for motorists.

Highways Agency officials and police sent lorries into the outside lane in both directions to wait until there was a lull in the blustery conditions and quayside work could restart.

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Port officials expected it to be a stop-start day - with the plan to clear lorries as soon as there was a drop in wind speeds and let more into the complex to replace them and help clear the A14.

A port spokesman said: “All employees have been brought in from their machines and the port closed to all container operations as wind has reached levels in excess of safety and working limits.”

The situation is expected to continue until mid-afternoon when winds are due to ease.

Elsewhere in Suffolk it was a miserable day to be out but police said there had been few problems overnight and no accidents.

A small tree had come down across the B1080 Holbrook Road near Stutton Corner, half blocking the road.

County council highways staff had been sent to the scene to clear it.

Weather service Metcheck said it would be a “wild and wet” day.

Winds would die down this evening and then get stronger during the night with more rain tomorrow morning, but brighter in the afternoon. It would remain mild today - about 7C - but tomorrow will get colder, perhaps down to freezing.

The Environment Agency has put flood warnings in place at the River Severn between Worcester and Tewkesbury and from Tewkesbury to upstream of Gloucester.

Sandbags have been placed in front of homes and emergency services and councils are on stand-by and getting prepared for the worst.

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