By DAVID BLACKMORE
Friday, November 30, 2012
Drivers continue to run the risk of getting stuck along a flooded road in the Fens to avoid a 30-mile detour.
The A1101 at Welney was closed earlier this month after heavy rainfall caused the River Ouse level at Welney Causeway to rise and spill over onto the flood plains, built to store excess water.
But people have been ignoring the warning signs and driving through the flooded stretch from the Hundred Foot Bridge to Suspension Bridge to get in and out of the village.
The EDP has been shown this video of a driver wading his way through deep water at Welney Wash before eventually making it back on to dry land.
It is the second time this year the stretch of road across the Welney Washes has been shut.
An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We strongly recommend that people stick to the guidelines and adhere to them in the interest of their own safety.
“We will advise the Highway Authority when the waters have receded sufficiently enough to reopen the road.”
At 3.15pm yesterday the river level of the River Ouse at Welney Causeway, which usually lies at between nought and two metres, was measured at 3.75metres.
The Welney Washes were built in the 18th century to take floodwater in the Fens and beyond, especially in winter, as the great drainers began reclaiming the vast wetlands for farming.
Over the centuries, the area between the Delph and tidal Ouse has become a haven for birds and other wildlife, including thousands of swans.
Since the mid-1970s, however, a combination of factors has led to more regular summer floods and longer, deeper winter flooding.
Siltation in the tidal river has meant it takes longer to clear the water off the land in the spring via the pumps at Welmore Sluice.
One of the worst prolonged periods of flooding saw water depth levels reach more than 30 inches, with the road closed for several weeks in 2007.
But when temperatures fall below freezing, the vast expanses of shallow water freeze, which attracts people from across the country to enjoy traditional fen skating.