Traffic nightmare for rush hour motorists

THOUSANDS of rush-hour drivers faced a nightmare homeward journey tonight.

THOUSANDS of rush-hour drivers in east Ipswich faced a nightmare homeward journey tonight.

Snowy conditions - with sheets of ice an extra hazard - left a bleak picture across large swathes of the town.

There was gridlock from Felixstowe Road, through to Nacton Road - apparently spilling back from an accident on the A14 near Seven Hills.

The situation was made worse when police were forced to close the eastbound carriageway of the A14 after a number of drivers had abandoned their cars due to the heavy snow.

There were reports of hour-long delays in both directions on the A14 between the Wherstead Interchange and Trimley St Martin.

A broken-down lorry on the A12 at Woodbridge was also causing disruption.

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Anna Knights, from Felixstowe, works close to the A14 at Ransomes Europark. She was sent home at 4.00pm - but at 6.00pm was still stuck on the A14 - just a few hundred yards from work.

She had heard reports the A14/A12 ahead of them was closed.

Gerry Friel, from Trimley St Mary, was stuck in traffic in the Naction Roadarea. “Everything is at a standstill,” he said.

Further down the A14, towards Felixstowe, there were reports of drivers are abandoning their cars on the A14 between Nacton and Seven Hills.

This came as heavy snow apparently made the road impassable.

Motorists are leaving their vehicles on the road and in ditches as a deep blanket of snow covered the carriageway around 4pm today.

In a separate incident a burst water main, near Ipswich Hospital, added to the traffic nightmare.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “Initially, it came in there were vehicles everywhere, scattered all over the place. The snow is very deep out there.”

Commuters who tried to escape the weather by leaving early have become trapped in the wintery conditions, as vehicles, especially high-performance cars, are breaking down.

The inside lane of the A14 eastbound is totally blocked, while the outside lane is quickly becoming impassable.

The spokeswoman said the road was 'undriveable'.

“The snow is so deep. People are just not getting through,” she said. “At the moment it is really cold so it will soon start freezing over.”

Gritters and snow ploughs are being sent to clear the road while recovery has been called for stranded drivers.

Congestion has spilled into Ipswich town centre, leaving travellers facing long jams on their Friday journey home.

Freezing temperatures have left hellish driving conditions on the A12 at Martlesham, as ice makes the surface like glass.

The spokeswoman urged all drivers to avoid any unnecessary journeys at all costs.

“If it's not necessary, don't go out at all,” she said. “If you have got to drive home, go very carefully.

“Leave long distances between vehicles and follow the tracks of the car in front of you.”

The A14 was partially blocked again tonight after a petrol tanker was involved in an accident between the Whitehouse Interchange and Copdock Interchange. The incident was ongoing at 10pm.

Rail services were also experiencing some disruption today due to the weather.

The 3.38pm London Liverpool Street service to Lowestoft started at Ipswich while the 3.45pm Peterborough to Liverpool Street terminated in Suffolk's county town.

Some trains were no longer calling between London and Colchester while links to Stansted airport were cancelled.