60 minutes at Welney Wash: As driver towed to safety, MP Liz Truss tells flood summit £5 million needed to raise road

PUBLISHED: 16:11 15 January 2016 | UPDATED: 17:26 15 January 2016

Deliver driver Chris Towie was left with soggy socks after his van was stranded half-way along the A1101. He was fortunately rescued by a generous tractor driver who towed him to safety. Picture: Steve Williams.

Deliver driver Chris Towie was left with soggy socks after his van was stranded half-way along the A1101. He was fortunately rescued by a generous tractor driver who towed him to safety. Picture: Steve Williams.

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Another motorist was left with wet feet and a flooded engine after defying road closure signs and driving through nearly a foot of water at Wash Road, Welney.

Welney wash flood. St Peters road March, sign not working. Picture: Steve Williams.Welney wash flood. St Peters road March, sign not working. Picture: Steve Williams.

He said: “I went through yesterday without a problem but today I managed to get about half way down – to the deepest part - and my engine gave out.”

Luckily for Chris, a tractor was also making its way down the A1101 and was able to tow his white Mercedes van to safety.

Flooding begins on the A1101 when the water level reaches 2.4 metres, and a flood summit was held earlier today to try and come up with a solution to the long-standing problem.

MPs ELizabeth Truss, Steve Barclay, Sir Henry Bellingham, members of the Environment Agency and Norfolk County Council gathered in Downham Market to discuss the issue this morning, with Mrs Truss saying that the plans to combat future road closures by raising the road would require “significant work” and could cost £5 million.

The Wash Road remains closed on Friday morning. Picture: Steve Williams.The Wash Road remains closed on Friday morning. Picture: Steve Williams.

She said: “We must find a way to improve the A1101 at Welney. This is an A road – it’s unacceptable that it’s closed for so long.”

Norfolk County Council also agreed to take responsibility following reports that LED signs being used to warn motorists of the depth of the water, which were installed after flooding in 2012, have not been working.

The signs inform drivers of the level of the water in feet and centimeters and cost £20,000 to install, but there have been a number of reports via social media that a number of them are not displaying the vital information.

Another resident who has been left frustrated by the flooding is Paul Harvey of the Lamb and Flag pub, which is located a few hundred yards away from the road which has been submerged by water for almost a week.

“We saw two cars being pulled out yesterday and we had a taxi driver come in on Wednesday because his Sat Nav kept telling him to go through,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of lorry drivers turning round and cutting up our car park because they can’t get through.

“There’s been so much money spent on it but it’s been like this for years. I can’t see it being sorted in my lifetime.”

The closure of the road has forced those travelling from Littleport and Ely to follow a long diversion to get to the village.

The diversion takes them through Downham Market - a trip of roughly 30 miles.

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