Traffic chaos after A14 accident

TRAFFIC chaos gripped a town yesterday after a fatal lorry crash gridlocked one of the region's busiest routes. The A14 was brought to a standstill after the crash, which killed driver Kevan Paterson when his HGV struck a railway bridge near Ipswich.

TRAFFIC chaos gripped a town yesterday after a fatal lorry crash gridlocked one of the region's busiest routes.

The A14 was brought to a standstill after the crash, which killed driver Kevan Paterson when his HGV struck a railway bridge near Ipswich.

Emergency services were called to the Felixstowe-bound carriageway at about 3.45am and the road remained closed for more than nine hours, causing traffic chaos in and around Ipswich.

It was the first major test of the new initiative between emergency services, the Highways Agency and Suffolk County Council to reduce traffic congestion following accidents on the A14.


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But, although some traffic kept moving, roads across Ipswich were gridlocked as commuters tried to find their own way around the accident.

Suffolk police did not report that traffic was flowing on the A14 until 4.50pm - more than 12 hours after the crash.

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Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads and transport at Suffolk County Council, said the response to the accident would be analysed to see if improvements could be made.

He said one line of enquiry would be to look at the messages the Highways Agency was giving out to the media and public about the A14.

But he added: "Because it was a fatality it is treated as a crime scene by the police, who go through quite lengthy procedures. As a result they collect quite a detailed amount of evidence."

Meanwhile Bob Feltwell, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said the latest tragedy was yet another example of the need for a northern bypass in Ipswich.

"Long term we need an extra link road around the north of the town so that the A14 and A12 can run smoothly without impinging on all of the other essential business traffic in and around Ipswich."

The carriageway was closed for nine hours yesterday while specialist accident investigators began their inquiry into the cause of the collision, with diversions in place via the A1189 and A1156 rejoining the A14 at the Seven Hills interchange.

A single lane was eventually reopened at 1.15pm after the lorry was recovered, however the other lane remained closed until 4.10pm while emergency repairs were carried out on 100metres of safety barrier.

A spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said: "We sent an incident support unit to the site but were only able to gain access after the police investigation into the accident.

"We were able to carry out emergency repairs to the damaged safety barriers but we may have to go back at some point to finish the job off."

Police, firefighters and paramedics in two ambulances were despatched to the crash site shortly after the accident.

Assistant divisional officer Geoff Pyke, of Suffolk Fire Service, said: "We arrived at the scene at about 3.50am to find the deceased. There was nothing that paramedics could do.

"It is the worst part of being a firefighter to have to attend a scene like that and have to extricate from wreckage.

"We used hydraulic cutting equipment and were respectful and as swift as we could be."

No other vehicles were said to be involved in the accident, which occurred as Mr Paterson was returning from his base following a job outside the county.

His body was taken out of his three-year-old Scania articulated lorry and taken to the mortuary at Ipswich Hospital.

Suffolk police are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the lorry at the time of, or just prior to, the crash.

Anyone with information is asked to call 01473 613500.

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