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Fury as Ferry Road still partially closed due to flooding
6:20pm Friday 4th January 2013 in News
FURY has erupted after a major Benfleet road was partially closed again due to flooding.
Ferry Road was scheduled to be closed between Christmas and New Year to accommodate for the £4million renovation of Benfleet Railway Bridge by Network Rail.
However, Police were forced to shut the road early due to severe flooding which meant it was unsafe for motorists to pass.
Now, residents have spoken of their anger as the road was restricted to just one lane again yesterday as it was still submerged under water more than two weeks after the flooding first struck.
Serious questions are being raised over why authorities have failed to take action to drain the water from the road, which is one of only two routes linking Canvey to the mainland.
Susan Buhr, of Jotmans Lane, Benfleet, said: “It’s about time they sorted this out because it’s been an absolute nightmare. They said it would only be over Christmas so it wouldn’t be too much of a disruption, but people are going back to work now and it needs to be reopened fully.
“God forbid anything happens on Canvey and those poor people have to get off in a hurry.”
Anglian Water denied any responsibility for draining the water, telling the Echo the nearby pumping station is only used for sewage not for surface water.
Essex County Council apologised for the delays to drivers but refused to tell the Echo if it was doing anything to resolve the problem.
A spokesman said: “We understand that this is causing some delays in the area and we apologise for this but we cannot open the lane until it is safe to do so. We hope the lane will reopen early next week.”
More than £100,000 had been set aside by Network Rail for an emergency escape route to be opened over the railway over Christmas, allowing drivers easy access to and from the island.
Now, county councillor Ray Howard is calling for a meeting with the man responsible for highways, councillor Derrick Louis, to ask why the emergency access plan was not put in place when Police first closed the road in mid December.
Mr Howard said: “When we have major works like this I live in the real and know there will be disruption but this is now causing unnecessary congestion and residents have a right to be angry. People have got to pay their bills and get to work.
“Why wasn’t this emergency access plan bought into being? There are a lot of people passing the buck and this shouldn’t have happened. I am going to have an urgent meeting with the cabinet member because serious questions need to be asked about what went wrong and why this road is still flooded.”
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