Thursday, December 6, 2012
ISN’T it about time the county council had a bridge or raised causeway built at Earith to avoid the regular chaos that is created when the road is closed due to flooding?
The current road closure at Earith, which started on Monday, November 26, is causing gridlock on the roads around half the county and on Friday the causeway was still deep in water. As a result, it took me one hour to travel seven miles from Somersham to St Ives, and this was leaving Somersham at 9am in the morning.
I dread to think what peak travel drivers are experiencing earlier in the day. Extra traffic is also being forced onto the already overloaded A14.
If I take the Chatteris route instead, it takes one-and-a-half hours to get to work in Cambridge, and I end up travelling over 42 miles instead of my usual 28 miles to get to work and back. If you multiply that by the thousands of cars making similar longer journeys five days a week, the environmental argument alone should make the construction of a bridge at Earith a ‘causeway’ worth fighting for!
The cost to business of lost hours in productivity and the cost to drivers of extra fuel is particularly hard hitting for small businesses and low-paid drivers. The only bright spot on the horizon is the Guided Bus, which has been a very good alternative, but only once you have escaped from the traffic jams coming into St Ives. Even so, during the flooding and pre-Christmas season, the buses are overloaded and I have had to stand for the journey to Cambridge, even at 10am in the morning.
With the area due for further expansion of housing, the county’s road infrastructure is on a knife-edge. The flooding at Earith shows that a seemingly small upset in the road network tips the balance into gridlock. I hope other drivers, environmental campaigners, the district council and the county council join me in calling for and delivering a solution to this perennial problem – a raised causeway or bridge at Earith.