MPs look at how to raise £5m to improve A1101 at Welney

Deliver driver Chris Towie was left with soggy socks after his van was stranded half-way along the A

Deliver driver Chris Towie was left with soggy socks after his van was stranded half-way along the A1101. He was fortunately rescued by a generous tractor driver who towed him to safety. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

MPs are exploring how up to £5m can be raised to make improvements to a Fenland road which is regularly affected by flooding.

The A1101 Welney causeway near Downham Market is closed due to the high water levels, with residents and anyone using the road facing detours of up to 30 miles.

But MPs yesterday attending a floods summit for the Fens said they remain committed to finding a solution preventing the closure happening on such a regular basis.

Elizabeth Truss, MP for south west Norfolk and secretary of state for the Department of the Environment, said: 'Flooding along the A1101 has been more regular in recent years and is happening for longer periods.

'It is unacceptable that in these modern times that this A-road is affected on such a regular basis. It's a huge inconvenience for residents in Welney and for road users in general.'

At the meeting, Norfolk County Council's Dave Stephens presented the findings of a feasibility study that explored raising the road.

He said that adding another metre to 3.3 metres would cost in the region of £5m, and to reach 2.8 metres would be £1.1m.

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'However these costs would not be able to come out of Norfolk County Council budget alone,' he added.

It was agreed around the table other sources of funding for the works could be explored.

Even as discussions about the road were happening, motorists were defying the prominent 'Road Closure' signs around the Welney causeway and getting stranded in the waters.

Delivery driver Chris Cowie was towed to safety by a passing tractor and had to bail water out of his van.

Back at the meeting, it was also mentioned that £20,000 warning signs to help monitor the water levels on the road were inaccurate and needed to be fixed.

Ms Truss was joined at the summit by North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay and North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham.

Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, also attended. Ken Goodger, chairman of Welney Parish Council, said: 'I do think this was a very positive meeting. Even if the road is raised by six inches, that would make a massive difference.'

How is the flooded A1101 at Welney affecting you? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk