Calls for new road after crash chaos

A COUNCILLOR has called for a new road to replace the notorious A140 – following a crash which closed the route for more than five and a half hours at the weekend.

By David Green

A COUNCILLOR has called for a new road to replace the notorious A140 – following a crash which closed the route for more than five and a half hours at the weekend.

Two lorries collided on the A140 at Brome, near Eye, on Saturday at 6.20 am and it was not until 12.05 pm that the route was reopened to traffic.

However, there were no reports of serious congestion as police quickly set up a short diversion using roads near the accident scene.

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The accident happened near the Norfolk border on the stretch of the A140 between the B1118 turn off to Oakley and Stradbroke and the roundabout on the A143 near Scole.

One of the lorry drivers involved in the crash was taken to Ipswich Hospital with head injuries which were not thought to be serious.

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Police from both sides on the Suffolk-Norfolk attended the incident.

A crash at a similar time on a weekday – at the start of the "rush hour" or on a Saturday in the peak holiday period – would have brought more chaos.

The A14 westbound carriageway near Ipswich was closed all day recently following a major accident and, in another accident, the A12 was closed south of Ipswich.

Charles Michell, who represents Brome on Suffolk County Council, said Saturday's A140 closure was indicative of a road which could not cope with the present volume of traffic and hold-ups would increase as the volume rose in the future.

He did not think the length of the closure was unreasonable in the light of the seriousness of the accident and the place it had occurred.

"The police have done the best they can in the circumstances," he said. "It is the kind of hold-up one would expect and I fear we are going to get more of them as time goes by.

"What is needed is a completely new A140 going north-south from the A14 to the A143, one with fewer turnings and a wider and better designed carriageway to make it easier to cope with accidents.

"Dualling the present route is not feasible because there are just too many turnings."

Road congestion in Suffolk has been aggravated in the past few weeks by the necessity to carry out maintenance work and inspections to the Orwell Bridge.

A Suffolk police spokesman said the length of time taken to reopen the A140 on Saturday was not unreasonable.

As both the lorries were goods vehicles and one was in a ditch heavy lifting gear had to be relayed to the scene.

"Serious accidents have to be investigated fully in the event of court hearings and in terms of what lessons might have to be learned and whether there should be changes put in place.

"Debris has to be cleared the carriageway made safe before traffic can be allowed back. All this takes time," he said.

"We can't just push the vehicles to the side of the road and let normal traffic flow proceed, as some people seem to think," he added.

Guy McGregor, county highways chief, could not be contacted for comment last night.

He has previously called for the A14, currently controlled by the Highways Agency, to be put back in the county council's control.

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