MP calls for action over A14 worries

Friday, 14 November, 2008

Road chiefs have been criticised for putting people's lives at risk over problems with a newly-opened section of the A14.

Around £32 million has been spent on the new stretch of A14 at Haughley, in an effort to reduce accidents.

But heavy rain has led to pools of standing water on the road, with vehicles aquaplaning and dozens of concerned motorists calling the police.

In one incident last month, a vehicle collided with the central crash barrier, although the driver was unhurt.

Now David Ruffley, MP for Stowmarket, has hit out at the Highways Agency for taking too long to respond to the problem.

He said: "This situation simply isn't good enough. The A14 is Suffolk's main arterial route and the Highways Agency is not taking it seriously. It needs to get to grips with this before lives are lost."

Graham Dalton, Highways Agency chief executive, said there was no fault in the design of the new road, but admitted there were drainage problems.

In a letter to Mr Ruffley, he said: "We have identified an area of carriageway where surface water appears to be collecting rather than freely draining.

"Our service providers have placed temporary flooding signs at the location and they are carrying out further investigations to identify the root cause of the problem."

But Mr Ruffley said the Highways Agency had already investigated the problem without finding the cause.

"This state of affairs is ridiculous. While they dither over what the cause of these problems are, lives are being put at risk," Mr Ruffley said.

Chief constable Simon Ash, of Suffolk Police, said he understood the flooding was related to the improvement scheme and would continue to monitor the situation.

He added: "The constabulary is very much aware of this particular issue and we will continue to liaise with the Highways Agency to prevent further accidents."