Thousands spent yet still floods close A27

DESPITE £800,000 being spent fixing the drainage on the A27, the busy trunk-road is still vulnerable to flooding with fed-up motorists facing yet more delays last week.

After months of disruption and lane closures in 2012, the dual carriageway still could not cope with the volume of water coming off the South Downs this winter.

But the Highways Agency denies that its drainage work has failed, arguing that it was never meant to deal with this kind of flooding.

A spokesman said the work carried out in 2012 was designed to collect rain that landed on the road and pipe it away.

He said last week’s lane closure was to allow clearance of floodwater from nearby saturated land that was flowing onto the eastbound carriageway.

“We work hard to ensure our roads are safe during periods of severe weather,” said the spokesman.

During the week-long lane closure, one Highways Agency pump cleared around 20 million litres of water, enough to fill around 16 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Meanwhile, three tankers ran for 321 hours, removing another four million litres of water.

The spokesman said the Highways Agency would continue to work with the Environment Agency and West Sussex County Council to monitor the impact of weather on the A27.

MP Tim Loughton defended the drainage work carried out in 2012, saying the recent bout of flooding was down to a ‘biblical’ amount of rainfall and the sheer volume of water coming off the Downs.

The MP for East Worthing and Shoreham said the situation would have been a whole lot worse, were it not for the efforts of the Highways Agency 18 months ago.

“The water table was completely saturated, and with the downpour last Friday and Saturday, it all just rolled off the downs and the drains couldn’t take that weight of water,” said Mr Loughton.

The lane was re-opened to traffic on Thursday.

Despite record-breaking levels of rainfall in January, there was no significant flooding in North Lancing until last weekend, when Grinstead Lane was also forced to close.

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