A14 crash causes traffic chaos

FRESH calls were made last night for contingency plans to deal with major accidents on the A14 in Suffolk after another horrific smash caused a day of chaos.

FRESH calls were made last night for contingency plans to deal with major accidents on the A14 in Suffolk after another horrific smash caused a day of chaos.

A lorry driver was airlifted to hospital with multiple injuries following the crash on the road near Claydon yesterday .

The accident, involving two lorries and a car, forced part of the road to be closed - resulting in long tailbacks across the area, including in the centre of Ipswich.

It was the latest in a series of crashes on the A14 which have led to major delays.

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And it has sparked fresh calls for a northern bypass for Ipswich to keep traffic moving when accidents block parts of the A14, which is used by many lorries travelling in and out of Felixstowe Port.

Last night, Conservative Guy McGregor, a past chairman of Suffolk County Council's highways committee who is tipped to be the new portfolio holder for transport and highways, described the traffic situation as “outrageous”.

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He said: “The fact is that we have got to manage the road better. We have to have diversions quicker.

“We have got to think about whether there should be loops across the road there so the other carriageway can be used for single carriageway traffic if there are any problems.

“I think my reaction is that the A12/A14 junction needs to be better and we need to monitor HGVs coming out of Felixstowe and put plans in place.

“We have got to be realistic in our attitude towards what we can do.

“Even if we start thinking at this stage of a northern bypass nothing would happen for 15 years.

“However these measures that I have just outlined could and should be put in place.”

Bob Feltwell, chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, has already written to Suffolk County Council calling for contingency plans to be put in place to deal with the disruption, which is costing businesses thousands of hours in working time.

Last night Mr Feltwell said: “This is the same sort of unfortunate problem when these accidents do occur.

“We really do need to improve the infrastructure in that area. A northern bypass would be an alternative route to handle the increase in the volume of traffic.”

The crash happened just after midday on the westbound carriageway and a 40-year-old man lost part of his lower leg after he was trapped in the crushed wreckage of his lorry cab.

The Bury St Edmunds-bound carriageway between the Whitehouse and Claydon junctions was closed for around nine hours, through rush hour, while emergency services dealt with the crash.

Although diversions were put in place, the accident saw traffic back up about 10 miles to the Orwell Bridge at Wherstead.

Tailbacks also formed on the eastbound carriageway and on the A12, along with Sproughton Road, in Ipswich, and routes through Bramford, as drivers tried to avoid the queues.

A spokesman for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust said three ambulances, two ambulance officers, a Suffolk Accident Rescue Service medic and the air ambulance were dispatched to the scene, with the first crews arriving within three minutes of the initial call.

The man was trapped in the wreckage of his lorry for more than an hour and needed releasing by firefighters.

The spokesman said: “When they got him out of the vehicle his foot had been amputated in the collision.”

Paramedics anaesthetised him at the scene before he was flown to Ipswich Hospital by helicopter.

Five other casualties were also taken to Ipswich Hospital but their injuries were not believed to be serious.

The latest traffic disruption came exactly 10 days after two accidents in both rush-hours brought the route to a standstill, with thousands of motorists delayed for several hours.

A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said: “The Highways Agency works with the police and local authority to plan diversion routes, which are used in the event of an accident.

“The police have primacy in all accident situations. If it is necessary for the police to investigate an accident as a scene of a crime then the wreckage cannot be cleared, or the road repaired, until after the police have concluded their work.

“Once the police have finished their investigations the Highways Agency work with them to re-open the road as quickly as possible.”

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