Lorry chaos returns to A14
SUFFOLK'S busiest road has been brought to a standstill once again - choc-a-bloc with lorries as Felixstowe port closed because of windy weather.Drivers faced chaos with trucks queuing on the A14 in both lanes back to the Trimley interchange with motorists complaining it took 45 minutes to get from Kirton to Felixstowe.
SUFFOLK'S busiest road has been brought to a standstill once again - choc-a-bloc with lorries as Felixstowe port closed because of windy weather.
Drivers faced chaos with trucks queuing on the A14 in both lanes back to the Trimley interchange with motorists complaining it took 45 minutes to get from Kirton to Felixstowe.
There was more confusion as some motorists decided to short-cut through the Trimley villages with traffic nose to tail to Walton.
Today it emerged the sudden high winds had apparently caught everyone by surprise - with the port being closed before Operation Stack, the procedure to deal with the hundreds of trucks, or any warning signs could be put into position.
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It left furious motorists complaining again of the huge impact the port is having on the community.
Fears have been expressed that emergency vehicles would not be able to get through if there was a fire at the port or housing estates nearby.
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Six weeks ago there were similar problems and confusion when Operation Stack was put in place and signs not removed, and since then meetings have been taking place between the port, police and Highways Agency to try to resolve the situation.
Head of corporate affairs at the port, Paul Davey said port officials had liaised with the police and Highways Agency, who make the decision to implement Operation Stack, over the time they expected the port to be closed yesterday.
“Normally Operation Stack would not be put in place if the closure was to be short and is only needed if there is to be a longer closure. Sometimes it is difficult when the period is in the middle. We had conflicting reports about traffic problems, too,” he said.
One motorist said: “It was utter chaos. The lorries were queued back in both lanes and nothing could move on the A14 - it was gridlock.
“I was stuck for half an hour with nothing moving at all.”
Another said: “It is so infuriating that the port of Felixstowe can have this sort of impact on our lives - we were sitting on the A14 unable to get home all because the port cannot deal with its customers. They should not be allowed to expand if they cannot handle the ramifications.”
The port was closed late afternoon as winds reached more than 45mph, leaving quayside cranes unable to work. Once all parking areas in the port were used, lorries were forced to wait on the A14.
However, by the time Highways Agency staff arrived with signs and cones, the wind had dropped and the port had re-opened.
Were you caught up in the chaos - what do you think is the solution? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk