New details emerge about diesel spill which closed A14 for 12 hours

Gridlocked traffic in Felixstowe after an oil spill on the westbound A14. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Gridlocked traffic on the A14 in Felixstowe in September - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Lessons have been learned following a huge 200 litre diesel spill which closed the A14 at Felixstowe for 12 hours. 

Highways England, which maintains the road, said that it had been looking at making a number of changes following the incident in which a lorry spilled the fuel at the Dock Spur Roundabout on September 2.  

Drivers reported absolute gridlock in the surrounding areas as police attempted to divert motorists around the town.  

The road remained closed for 12 hours while the serious spill was dealt with.  

A Highways England letter seen by this paper showed that the chemical needed to clear up the fuel spill was not kept locally and had to be brought in from elsewhere.

The contractor then got delayed in the incident, meaning that the clean-up did not begin until 6pm, over four hours after the incident began.  

“The specialist contractor was delayed by the congestion caused by the incident,” read the letter.  

Most Read

“They started cleaning the road surface at 6pm.” 

Highways England has now responded to questions about why the clean-up of the incident took so long and why the chemical needed was so far away.  

“The chemical used is currently under trial in a small number of locations,” said a spokesman for Highways England.  

“It is currently being used on busy section of motorway such as the M1 and M25. This will speed up the outcome of the trial and helps create the case for a region wide rollout more quickly.” 

The spokesman also said that it had been working with Suffolk Highways about plans for the future.  

The spokesman said: “We have spoken with Suffolk Highways about the need for closer working between our organisations and have committed to making this happen.  

“We are also rolling out the new chemical to other depots, including near the port given its proven success during this incident.” 

Suffolk Coastal MP, Therese Coffey said: “I am pressing National Highways to ensure that the County’s Network Assurance are made aware of any future incident at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure future disruption can be kept to a minimum and emergency diversions established more promptly.” 

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, said: "We are talking to National Highways (Highways England) regarding the impact that last month’s oil spill had on the county’s local road network, and how incidents of this nature are managed in future."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter