Anger at ‘two hour’ journey between Peterborough and Whittlesey as metal gates stopping traffic on B1040 vandalised

It has been a painful time for people travelling between Whittlesey and Peterborough over the past fortnight, with some even taking matters into their own hands by breaking a metal gate which was blocking traffic from entering a ‘flood risk’ area.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 12:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 4:03 pm

The past few months has seen periods of heavy rainfall resulting in North Bank and the B1040 being closed regularly due to flood warnings being issued by the Environment Agency.

And with both routes between Peterborough and Whittlesey closed off as a result, this has led to further pressure on the A605 through King’s Dyke and the notorious level crossing, although the inevitable delays have been made much worse by temporary traffic lights in Stanground which have led to motorists claiming it has taken them a long time to get home.

One of those is a resident of West Delph in Whittlesey who declined to be named.

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The metal gates on the B1040 which have now been fixed

He told the Peterborough Telegraph: “The last time the roads closed there were temporary traffic lights at King’s Dyke, now they’re at Horsey Toll. Peterborough City Council should try and delay them when the roads are flooded.

“It took me two hours to get home from Peterborough City Hospital on Monday.

“I know it’s difficult and clearly the works need to be done, but it’s getting busier and busier at the level crossing and there seems to be no date for the new bridge (at King’s Dyke).

“The frequency of trains on the rail line has apparently increased.”

Frustration at the road closures, despite there appearing to be no flooding, has seen many people continue to drive down North Bank. And it has even seen someone (or several people) cut the bolts on metal gates on the B1040 - between Thorney and Whittlesey - which were put in place near the Dog and a Doublet and by the entrance to the Showfields site to prevent motorists from entering the area at risk of flooding.

The resident from Whittlesey added: “Disgruntled residents walk in the area and see there’s no water on the road and no debris, but the road is closed. Unless the Environment Agency knows something we don’t.

“It’s a fact many people are a bit disillusioned. North Bank has been closed for several weeks now on and off, but it does not prevent people going down there.”

Both North Bank and the B1040 have now re-opened, but the problems are certain to resurface with works set to take place in the future at the A605/B1095 junction in Stanground, while there is no end in sight to the frequent delays at the level crossing where plans for a flyover have been put on hold.

Cambridgeshire County Council has gone back out to tender on the contract to build the bridge after Kier’s costs for the project soared from an original budget of £13.6 million to nearly £39 million.

The county council, which is responsible for closing the B1040, said: “We act on advice given by the Environment Agency when closing roads at risk of flooding.

“We were made aware, over the weekend, the gates had been vandalised and a crew was sent out to shut them, re-position signs and attach new locks. We understand drivers’ frustration, however, we urge people to follow closures and signs put in place for their own safety.”

A spokesman for Peterborough City Council, which is responsible for closing North Bank, said: “Regarding the North Bank closure, whilst we understand these comments it is worth pointing out that when the tide is down the road can appear clear from water, however, there is still often debris and mud from the river on the road making it unsafe to drive on.

“Regarding the A605, the current works are ground investigations in relation to the forthcoming works in Milk Water Drove. This has seen temporary traffic lights installed at the junction with Milk Water Drove. These were installed earlier this month and the work is due to finish tomorrow, so congestion in the area should now ease.

“We would apologise for any inconvenience that recent congestion in this area has caused motorists.”