THE traffic systems of Thurrock were thrown into chaos for the third night in under a month.
A coolant spillage on the Dartford Crossing took out two lanes at lunchtime. From that point onwards it was utter chaos with the gridlock taking a predictable path.
Firstly, the tailback from the crossing slowly sprawled back to Junction 29 and then to Junction 28 (Brentwood).
The A13 started to choke, exacerbated by the roadworks, especially the lane restriction at the A13/M25 roundabout. This has to be a major factor (at the moment).
After that, it gets worse and worse. The Treacle Mine roundabout (which has traffic light challenges) seizes up, as does the Sainsbury’s roundabout and then the back roads such as South Road in South Ockendon and Brentwood Road, Orsett.
The public were outraged. We know as many people come to YourThurrock in order to get updates.
All we can do is collate all information from every source. But at one stage (6pm) we were getting 50 page views a minute (3,000 in an hour).
But what people also wanted was some form of reassurance from the authorities.
They do not expect a miracle cure. They do not expect to be airlifted out but just a few words in a tweet at leat or action at most would do.
After the last incident, Essex Police (after some persuading) issued one of those "lessons learned’ statements.
Last night it was, it appears to be total radio silence, when it mattered.
To us, it is no use having PCSO’s tweets their thoughts (as nice as they are), DCI’s tweeting about stolen vehicles or well-intentioned twitter campaigns but then not say a single word to the thousands of stranded motorists. Hardworking strivers just tryng to get home.
Let us time-stamp this now. One day, there is going to be an incident and you just have the feeling that no amount of lessons learned will do.
There is also the economic cost of last night and the environmental effect as well.
But in the week that over a thousand people attended a meeting on the Thames Crossing, then it is another incident that make Thurrock feel like the dumbing ground of England.
Something has to be done or at the very least, seen to be done.
We have already had a large number of comments on our facebook page. Here are just a few of them.
Michael Biggins: "Been traveling to and from the west Thurrock area for 20 plus years for work and the only time it’s been bad is Christmas time, seems strange that all these closures of the roads have started now, it’s a conspiracy for the government and their contractors to get this new crossing pushed through and to hell with the poor sods it effects!"
Anthony Spink:"We need a traffic management task force. At Lakeside roundabout a car transporter had either broken down or crashed so the route out to Chafford was blocked. Thurrock needs a load of police or other traffic officials ready to jump onto motorbikes and prevent the roundabouts from gridlocking certainly until the A13 is complete. They also need to complete the dual slip from A13 London bound to M25 pronto as that causes big queues. That is the biggest reason for extra gridlock."
Paul Jay Rees: "I think it’s funny that people think it’s some sort of conspiracy regarding the proposed new crossing. People forget that the next phase of the A13/M25 road works started a few months ago and that junction is now buggered. Any accidents on top of that will just make the situation worse. Once the A13 road works are complete I’m sure any further accidents won’t have the same effect that they have now.
Mick Thompson: "There is no traffic management in place, the speed of getting things back to normal has suddenly grown which seems very convenient for Highways England and the government at present. Has never been this bad since the new crossing consultation had been active!"