Crash adds to week of disaster on A14

FRESH calls were made last night for highways chiefs to look at the future of the A14 after a week of disaster that continued yesterday with the death of a motorist in a horror crash.

FRESH calls were made last night for highways chiefs to look at the future of the A14 after a week of disaster that continued yesterday with the death of a motorist in a horror crash.

The fatal crash happened at 8.35am on the eastbound carriageway just outside Ipswich at Sproughton when an HGV and silver VW Polo collided before bursting into flames.

It follows an accident on Monday when a lorry overturned and slid down an embankment onto the Felixstowe-bound carriageway at Copdock and an incident on Wednesday when a van carrying lethal chemicals caught fire and partially exploded near Newmarket closing the road in both directions.

The accidents caused massive delays for motorists and last night John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said more money needed to be invested in the road.

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He said: “It has been a particularly bad week but there is an obvious need for something to be done. I don't think the solution is as simple as just widening the A14 into three lanes because when you talk to people it is not the road that is a problem, just the volume of traffic.

“Something like a northern bypass is an option and also improved traffic management but when it comes to money for road infrastructure Suffolk is the poor relation.

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“However it's not the fault of the local authorities but central government. We need to be more proactive in lobbying Westminster for more money to improve the roads.

“The expansion of Felixstowe port is excellent news but we need improvements on the A14 to cope with the influx in movement that this will bring. It's not good for traffic to be shipped through Ipswich every time there is an accident because it will effect productivity and delivery times.”

Although firefighters, paramedics and police were despatched to yesterday's accident the driver of the Polo, who has not been named but is believed to be a man in his late 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fragments from vehicles could be seen along a 100-yard stretch of the carriageway along with tyre marks and the lorry's cab was burnt out as a result of the fire.

Around 50 yards further back along the road a white transit van ended up on its side with damage to the front and back of the vehicle and behind that a pick-up truck with a trailer carrying a digger ploughed down a bank at the roadside. These crashes were believed to be linked to the fatal accident.

The HGV driver was treated at the scene for shock, but did not require hospital treatment, and three others were treated for minor injuries.

Police immediately put in diversions at Claydon so vehicles could filter through Ipswich while specialist investigation teams began their inquiry into the cause of the crash.

The eastbound carriageway was eventually reopened around 5pm - eight-and-a-half hours after the accident happened.

It was slow going for motorists who were caught in long tail backs and truckers travelling to the port of Felixstowe arrived at the container terminal much later than anticipated.

A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said the authority had done its best to get motorists moving as quickly as possible.

“We work hard with the police to put diversions in place to move traffic away from the area of the accident but inevitably because of the high volume of traffic there will be some delays,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said: “It has been a busy week and a decision to close a road as important as the A14 is never taken lightly. However we work with a number of agencies to minimise the impact.

“Whenever there is a fatal collision we have to carry out a thorough investigation at the scene so we can determine the exact cause of the accident.”

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council portfolio holder for roads and transport, said while the county council had a close relationship with the Highways Agency, the upkeep and maintenance of the A14 was the agency's responsibility.

n Anyone who has information about the accident should call PC John Wilson at police headquarters policing unit on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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