Haughley/Suffolk: A14 carriageways fully reopen after lorry crash – but repair work to continue for five nights
PUBLISHED: 19:03 25 February 2014 | UPDATED: 19:03 25 February 2014
All lanes of the A14 brought to a standstill yesterday after a lorry crashed into the central reservation have reopened ahead of today’s rush-hour.
But the Highways Agency said the outside lanes of both eastbound and westbound carriageways will again close tonight – and over the following four nights – as repair work continues.
For safety reasons, until the repairs are complete, a temporary 50mph speed limit is in place 24-hours-a-day, the agency said.
It comes more than 24 hours after a lorry damaged a 160metre stretch of central reservation in a single-vehicle accident on the A14 westbound near Haughley at around 3.15pm yesterday.
Both carriageways between junctions 47 and 49 were closed for almost four hours, prompting tailbacks for rush-hour commuters and heavy diverted traffic in nearby villages.
The inside lane of the westbound carriageway reopened at 6.50pm before the inside lane of the eastbound carriageway, which bore the brunt of the crash, finally reopened at around 9.15pm last night.
The Highways Agency said last night that engineers would continue working throughout the night in a bid to fully reopen the dual carriage before 6am today.
However, contractors from Skanska, working on behalf of the Highways Agency, found the extent of the damage was far more severe than initial assessments had suggested.
The outside lane of both carriageways remained close until they reopened at around 4.45pm today.
The damaged section of the barrier has now been coned off in preparation for repair work, set to start at 8.30pm tonight when traffic flows are “at their lowest to minimise disruption”, a Highways Agency spokesman said.
“The incident involved a heavy goods vehicle and resulted in a section of the central reservation safety barrier being damaged,” he said.
“Initially the A14 was closed in both directions for police investigation and recovery of the vehicle. Overnight, lane one reopened in both directions; lane two remained closed in both directions for safety reasons but was reopened at 4.45pm today.”
Work is expected to continue over five nights between 8.30pm and 5.30am as 40 posts and 60 beams are replaced and post foundations are rebuilt.
The outside lane closure will be lifted each day ahead of the morning peak period and set up again after the evening peak period.
The Highways Agency is advising road users to allow extra time for their journeys while repair work takes place.
Meanwhile, John Dugmore, CEO of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said congestion on the A14 has a “big impact on business”.
“It has an effect on local business and things such as international exports coming through Suffolk,” he said.
“Business has campaigned long and hard for an upgrade to the A14. Until that work gets underway, we will continue to see incidents having far too big an impact on both Suffolk’s and the UK’s economy.”