New police bid to keep traffic flowing on A14

Ch Insp Chris Spinks, head of roads policing with TIm Passmore and the new Land Rover.

Ch Insp Chris Spinks, head of roads policing with TIm Passmore and the new Land Rover. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk police commissioner Tim Passmore has launched a fierce attack on the Highways Agency – and called for local farmers and contractors to be called in to keep the county’s busiest road running.

He spoke out as he launched his latest monthly priority – keeping traffic flowing on the A14 at what is traditionally a difficult time of the year for the road.

His move comes nearly a year after the authorities came under fire for taking a day to clear the road near the Orwell Bridge after a lorry carrying onions shed its load on the highway.

Mr Passmore said: “We have to take action to make sure when there is a fairly minor accident the whole road comes to a halt – and I don’t think the Highways Agency is good enough.

“It was ridiculous when the road was closed for nearly a day after the onion lorry shed its load. The first Highways Agency officer took two hours to arrive.

“Why don’t they pay a retainer to farmers or contractors along the road on the condition that if the road needs clearing they will be there within say 30 minutes?” he added.

A new powerful Land Rover is now being used to patrol the A14. In an emergency it has enough power to pull a stricken HGV to the side of the road.

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Mr Passmore said police officers shared his frustration at the time it sometimes took to clear roads after a major incident – especially when Highways Agency equipment had to be brought in from other parts of the country that was similar to equipment commonly in use on farms in the area.

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said they worked with specialist equipment to ensure roads were safe when they reopened after crashes.

She added: “Safety is our top priority and we work with partners and the emergency services to reopen carriageways as soon as it is safe to do so following incidents.”

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