A digger toppled off a lorry on the A127 yesterday sparking “traffic bedlam”.

Drivers were stopped in their tracks as the lorry driver underestimated the height of an overhead footbridge and smashed into it. The impact caused the digger, attached to the back, to dislodge.

It then landed in the middle of the A127 London-bound carriageway at about 10.30am along with a large chunk of concrete from the now-damaged footbridge.

Witnesses described the chaotic scenes at The Bell junction and their shock at seeing the crash, which closed part of the A127 London-bound for most of the day.

Michaella Philpot, a photographer from Benfleet, said: “Watching the digger tip over on the back of a lorry was quite a shock. It hit the bridge as it went under and came down with a big crash.

“You could see the diesel coming from the digger and smashed glass all over the road.

“It is just so lucky that the car next to it didn’t get away from the lights quick enough otherwise it would have been next to it when this happened and it could have been an awful situation.”


Danny Lemon, a builder from Southend, described the scene as he drove past on the other side.

He said: “It didn’t affect the way I was going, but in the other direction it was traffic bedlam.

“The police were diverting traffic, but the whole stretch going from the Bell junction to Tesco was closed while they tried to deal with it.”

Police officers spent the day diverting traffic while highways experts attended the scene to assess the damage. A crane was later brought in to move the digger.

A spokesman for Southend Council said: “The police dealt with the removal and recovery of the lorry and the digger. A team from our highways department attended and assessed the bridge and carriageway for damage.

“The footbridge will be closed until further notice and drivers should be aware that it may need to close in the future for further work on the footbridge.”

The digger was lifted upright by 4pm, but the road remained closed until the late evening while remedial work was done to repair the damaged road surface.

Drivers were advised to use alternate routes and avoid the area at all costs.

  • Video by PC James Brewer/Twitter