Drivers anger at Suffolk road closures from Network Rail

Work has started to rebuild Westerfield level crossing, Picture: PAUL GEATER

Work has started to rebuild Westerfield level crossing, Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Residents of villages to the north of Ipswich have been left feeling cut off after Network Rail closed both roads to the area to work on the track.

Tuddenham Road bridge is closed. Picture: PAUL GEATERTuddenham Road bridge is closed. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Westerfield Level Crossing on the B1077 closed in the early hours of Saturday morning to allow engineers to move in and start rebuilding it to cope with increased freight rail services as part of the upgrade to the Felixstowe line.

On the same day another team of engineers employed by Network Rail moved in to close the Tuddenham Road bridge across the East Suffolk line for repairs – meaning both routes to villages including Tuddenham, Westerfield, Witnesham, Otley, and Ashbocking were closed.

The rail company is recommending drives take a 30km detour to get from one side of the line to the other!

Witnesham resident Simon Barlow said: “Why on earth are they closing both roads at the same time? The Tuddenham Road bridge has had lights on it for months while they wait to do the work – and now that starts on the same day that the level crossing is closed.”

Work has started to rebuild Westerfield level crossing, Picture: PAUL GEATERWork has started to rebuild Westerfield level crossing, Picture: PAUL GEATER

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The level crossing is due to be closed until July 15 – there is no word on how long the work at Tuddenham Road bridge will take although residents have been warned it could take until October to finish.

Both structures are owned by Network Rail, which means it has the final way on when work is carried out – it has to inform the county council when the roads will be closed, but there is nothing the local authority can do to force it to change its plans.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We’re sorry about the local traffic disruption today in and around the Westerfield area. The level crossing at Westerfield station has been closed as part of planned upgrade works for which a diversion route is in place.

Tuddenham Road bridge is closed. Picture: PAUL GEATERTuddenham Road bridge is closed. Picture: PAUL GEATER

“Works are also starting on the road bridge at Tuddenham to undertake repairs which is having an additional impact on traffic routes.

“While we always try to coordinate our planned railway works to minimise disruption, additional unplanned works may also be required to address any matters that require attention to ensure that our infrastructure remains safe for our customers.

“We wish to apologise for the disruption being caused to drivers as a result of these works taking place at the same time.”

Friends recall chainsaw crash drama on A11 at Red Lodge

Elizabeth Wilson (right) and Jenni Lewis were travelling at on the dual carriageway when two petrol-powered saws fell from a pick-up truck in front of them. Photo: Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Wilson (right) and Jenni Lewis were travelling at on the dual carriageway when two petrol-powered saws fell from a pick-up truck in front of them. Photo: Elizabeth Wilson

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Two friends are “lucky to be alive” after a chainsaw fell from a truck on the A11, wedged itself under their car and burst into flames.

The two chainsaws which fell from the back of a truck on the A11. Photo: Elizabeth WilsonThe two chainsaws which fell from the back of a truck on the A11. Photo: Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Wilson and Jenni Lewis were travelling at 70mph on the dual carriageway when two petrol-powered saws fell from a pick-up truck in front of them.

Despite managing to avoid one, the other went under their black Toyota Yaris and caught fire.

Miss Wilson, 29, from Old Buckenham, said: “We pulled over straight away and when I went to open my door the fire was blazing up the side as the fuel in the chainsaw had ignited.

“We later learnt that the fire was burning under the fuel pump.”

Miss Wilson and Miss Lewis, who is also 29 and lives in Bath, were unhurt but both “very shaken up”.

“We are so lucky to be alive,” Miss Wilson said. “It was a busy road and how the other chainsaw missed us is a miracle.”

“Just the whole scenario could have been a disaster.”

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Suffolk police said the incident happened on May 22 at 11.10am on the A11 southbound at Red Lodge between the A1101 and B1085.

Police later recovered the chainsaw from the scene and are appealing for the driver of the pick-up truck to come forward.

Miss Wilson, who was being driven to a job interview by Miss Lewis, claimed the driver of the black truck initially stopped, but then drove off when he saw the fire.

However, other drivers pulled over to help the pair and attempted to extinguish the flames.

Miss Wilson said: “I want to thank all the amazing people that stopped and helped us when we were freaking out on the side of the road. The two men who basically risked their lives getting the chainsaw out whilst it was up in flames under the car before the fire brigade were on the scene.

“Everyone managed to pull together to extinguish the fire with as many water bottles or other liquids they could find in their cars.”

Miss Wilson said her mother’s car had been written-off.

Anyone with information should call Forest Heath Neighbourhood Response Team at Mildenhall Police Station on 101, quoting CAD 128 of May 22.

Alternatively, information can be given anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

References

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