New move on Operation Stack

RADICAL changes are to be made to Operation Stack, the system for dealing with lorries on the A14 when Britain's biggest port is forced to close in windy weather.

RADICAL changes are to be made to Operation Stack, the system for dealing with lorries on the A14 when Britain's biggest port is forced to close in windy weather.

No final decisions have yet been taken, but it looks likely a ticket system will be introduced and trucks will be made to park up on the old A45 at Levington to keep the dual carriageway clear.

The idea was debated at a special meeting of police, Highways Agency officials, Felixstowe port representatives and council chiefs, chaired by Ch Insp Martin Barnes-Smith, at police headquarters at Martlesham.

Changes have been called for following the failure of the current system last winter when lorries clogged up the A14 near Felixstowe, causing chaos in the twin Trimley villages as car drivers sought other routes.


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The two options are:

Park lorries on the old A45 at Levington with portable loos and refreshment facilities for long closure periods.

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Close the A14 between Nacton Europark and Seven Hills and use it as truck park with other traffic diverted.

Head of corporate affairs at Felixstowe port, Paul Davey said using the old A45 was the favoured option, directing the lorries in and out via the Seven Hills interchange.

“We have to be realistic about what policing is available and it is thought this could be the best and most workable of the options,” he said.

The biggest change will be that all drivers joining the Operation Stack queues parked on the road, which is parallel to the A14, will be issued with tickets - and only those drivers with tickets will be allowed into the port when it reopens.

This is to avoid the situation where some truckers go back to their yards or find places close to the port to park off the A14 but then try to jump the queues once the port reopens, causing extra frustration and adding to the chaos.

The tickets will add as an incentive to drivers to make sure they are parked in the proper place to wait.

The system will be run by the Port of Felixstowe in conjunction with the police, who will use the ticket numbering to release manageable numbers of trucks from the parking area down to the port to be dealt with.

What do you think should be done with the lorries when the port is closed? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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