Officials from National Highways are boosting their round-the-clock pumping station beside the Newmarket bypass in a bid to keep traffic moving on one of the region's busiest roads.

The eastbound lane of the A14/A11 Newmarket bypass has been partially blocked by flooding since mid-February, forcing traffic to drive through the town centre.

The three-lane carriageway has been totally closed on some nights as National Highways engineers try to clear the road of floodwater that has spread over the carriageway because nearby land has been saturated by the winter's heavy rainfall.

 A spokesperson for National Highways said: "Currently, our existing pumping station at this location is operational, and we are expeditiously advancing a planned scheme to address pumping capacity challenges arising from increased rainfall and elevated groundwater levels.

"Additional pumps have been deployed and will remain on-site until we confirm that groundwater levels pose no threat to the carriageway or verges."

On Thursday a second lane was opened for the first time in nearly two weeks, and National Highways are hoping to get the eastbound carriageway fully opened soon.

However, the eastbound sliproad from Newmarket was closed overnight on Thursday to allow more checks on the work.

There is no forecast of heavy rain in the immediate future - but the Environment Agency has been involved in the planning because National Highways officials are aware that further heavy rain on the saturated ground could lead to further problems.

The spokesperson added: "Despite the challenges posed by high groundwater levels in the area, our teams are working 24 hours a day, exerting every effort to clear the flooding swiftly.

“The Environment Agency is collaborating with National Highways, contributing to a pumping plan and providing guidance on assessing flood risk downstream.

"Their involvement also includes offering advice on water quality and actively supporting multi-agency discussions.”

The Newmarket by pass opened in 1975 and this is the first time there has been such a sustained problem with flooding because of saturated ground.