June 19 2013 Latest news:
Norfolk MP and and Eastern region MEP in joint talks to try and resolve flooding delays through Welney. Left: Cllr David Pope, Cllr Fred Yeulett. MP Elizabeth Truss. Cllr Vivienne Spikings. Cllr Will Sutton and Vicky Ford MEP for East of England.
Words: Kath Sansom
Photos: Steve Williams
Friday, March 22, 2013
ROAD closure misery at Welney is set to be reduced dramatically when new electronic information signs are installed this Autumn.
Three signs will give real time flood status updates on the A1101 so that motorists know immediately if they can pass through safely.
The dot matrix signs, costing £20,000, were agreed during what was described as the “most positive meeting that has ever taken place” between multi agencies in an effort to solve Welney’s flood lock problems.
Next on the list is an in-depth economic study into the impact of road closures so councillors can seek European funding for a solution such as building a causeway over the current road which in just three months this year has already been closed for 46 days.
Gathered for the meeting at Welney village hall today were SW Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, Conservative Euro MEP Vicky Ford, county council representatives from both Norfolk and Cambridgeshire because Welney sits on the border of two counties, district councillors and borough councillors.
Mrs Ford said: “Welney is a unique part of East Anglia which takes the flooding so that everybody else doesn’t have to.
“In short it takes it on the chin for everyone else upstream. It is time we did something to help local residents and businesses live with that.”
Miss Truss said that closing the road meant longer journey times to work for local commuters and headaches for hauliers trying to get through with deliveries.
“We need to improve links between Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to help rural economic development,” she said.
Parish council chairman Ken Goodger praised the linking up of so many interested parties and for the first time felt positive that a real solution could be found.
In the meantime the signs would make a huge impact, he said.
Currently, county council staff drive out to erect and take down road closure signs as the flood levels rise and fall but is an unreliable system, he said.
“Flood signs are up today and cars are wasting time making 20 mile detours yet there is only a couple of centimetres of water on one tiny area of the road.
“If the new signs were in drivers would know straight away they could get through.”
One sign will be positioned at the Lotts Bridge Crossroads, one at the March road junction and one at the Welney Bridge.
Existing electronic water level measurements gathered by the Environment Agency will be used to relay instant updates to the signs.
If successful it is hoped other signs can be rolled out further afield.