Urgent inquiry into water on A14

AN URGENT investigation has been launched into the design of the A14 after a young motorist nearly died when she lost control of her car in wet weather.

Richard Smith

AN URGENT investigation has been launched into the design of the A14 after a young motorist nearly died when she lost control of her car in wet weather.

Suffolk police has asked the Highways Agency to examine the road near Rougham following reports that motorists have “aquaplaned” when hitting pools of water on the road.

In the latest incident Charlie Pipe, 19, broke her back and sustained other serious injuries when her car hit standing water, flew off the road and ploughed into a tree.


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Her accident happened east of the Rookery Crossroads - where substantial road improvements took place 18 months ago.

Her family, who live near Woodbridge, say they were told by Suffolk police that other drivers had similar experiences on the same stretch of road.

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Charlie's mother, Pat Pipe, said: “I was told by one officer that there was still water on the road when he arrived and basically Charlie did not stand a hope. She would not have seen the water and once her car hit it there was nothing she could do to control it.

“Police said other people had come off the new stretch of road and there had been problems ever since the new junction had been put in.”

Shopkeeper Bill Vaudrey, from Alderton, near Woodbridge, said he also “aquaplaned” at Rougham only ten minutes before Miss Pipe's accident.

“There were lakes of water on the road and I am surprised that there were not many other accidents,” he said.

There have been 11 accidents so far this year on the A14 at Rougham and Suffolk police crash investigators highlighted water on the road in two of those incidents.

A Highways Agency spokesman said yesterday: “The Highways Agency is carrying out an investigation following concerns raised by Suffolk police about water collecting on the A14 near Rougham during the recent spells of very heavy rain.”

He added: “All our roads are designed to the highest standards and include appropriate camber and drainage systems to drain water from the carriageway.

“We would always advise drivers to take extra care during heavy rain and drive appropriately for the conditions.”

The Rookery Crossroads is used by more than 40,000 drivers a day and a £12m improvement project was opened late and over-budget in 2006.

In July the Highways Agency said a small area of subsidence occurred at the site of a drainage culvert crossing the carriageway and required repairs.

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