Stowmarket traffic was ‘absolute bedlam’ say residents as highways reopen westbound A14 after rush-hour closure

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON - Credit: Archant

Highways chiefs have now reopened the A14 westbound at Stowmarket after it was shut to make emergency repairs to a bridge between Tot Hill and Stowmarket.

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON - Credit: Archant

Road maintenance teams from Highways England working to fix a bridge joint on the Hill House Viaduct – which carries the A14 over the railway – have now reopened the carriageway.

Traffic, which was at a near complete standstill during rush hour, is being diverted via Stowmarket.

Steve Hurn, who lives in the town, said it is “absolute bedlam”.

He believes drivers are facing delays of up to 90 minutes.

https://twitter.com/HighwaysEAST/status/900333438976360448

Motorists were being asked to allow extra time to reach their destinations and are leaving the westbound carriageway at junction 50.

From there, drivers are travelling via the A1120 and the A1308 and rejoining the A14 at junction 49.

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A local business owner, who did not want to be named, hit out at Anglian Water. He said: “This has been going on for far too long, and when something like this happens, it is just chaos on top of chaos. They are useless.”

Permanent repair scheduled for after bank holiday

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON - Credit: Archant

A Highways England spokesman said: “The westbound carriageway had been closed through much of the day between junctions 50 and 49 near Stowmarket in Suffolk, while temporary repairs to a bridge joint on the Hill House Viaduct, which carries the A14 over the railway between the two junctions, were carried out.

“The road reopened at 6.30pm. A permanent repair will be scheduled for after the August Bank Holiday, and will be carried out overnight when traffic flows are lowest to keep disruption to a minimum.

“Highways England is grateful to drivers for this patience while this essential repair work was carried out.”

Stowmarket town centre is already dealing with heavier than usual traffic due to over-running Anglian Water sewer works.

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON - Credit: Archant

A project to build a new 2km sewer along Bury Road, Gipping Way, Navigation Approach and Tomo Road started in September 2016 and was meant to be completed by the end of the year.

But once it was finished Anglian Water discovered it was not working and have spent the past few months digging up the road and carrying out tests.

READ MORE: Stowmarket braces for more roadworks as Anglian Water announce two week closure at major roundabout

Temporary traffic lights are in place at the Bury Street/Gipping Way/Bury Road roundabout and Crown Street is closed in both directions to accommodate the works.

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON

Traffic chaos in Stowmarket after the closure of the A14 on August 23, 2017. Picture: MATT REASON - Credit: Archant

As a result drivers have faced weeks of severe disruption in the centre of town.

In response to growing criticism of the 2km sewer project, which started in June 2016 and should have completed last year, an Anglian Water spokeswoman apologised for the delays, saying they are now hoping to complete in September.

She said: “We are carrying on with our work in Stowmarket and our engineers are working with the police to try and reduce traffic disruption.

“At the moment the sewer work is continuing and there are temporary traffic lights in place at the Bury Street, Gipping Way and Bury Road junction.

“Crown Street is also closed but this would not affect the diversion in place today.”

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