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Downpour and road network falls into chaos

By Stroud Life  |  Posted: November 28, 2012

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FIRST of all, I would like to make it clear that I am not an impatient driver and I am realistic about the financial limitations suffered by those who are in charge of keeping traffic moving.

But I can't fathom out why, when we get a hefty downpour, the road network around the Five Valleys and Severn Vale should virtually grind to a standstill.

Last week, I was one of hundreds, if not thousands, of drivers caught up in the massive evening rush-hour traffic queue which snaked, pretty much in both directions, from the Cainscross roundabout, through Ebley and Stonehouse all the way to the Haresfield island at Junction 12 of the M5.

At one point, somewhere on the B4008 Gloucester Road in Standish, I sat for a good 20 minutes without moving an inch.

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The rest of the time it was a matter of inching forward a car or two's lengths and then waiting for a few minutes to repeat the process.

The primary causes for this gridlock were the closure of two lanes on the M5, due to standing water and screen obscuring spray, and a virtual lake at The Stanleys turn on the A419 Ebley Bypass.

It's a hackneyed phrase but why, in the 21st Century, can't our roads and, worse still, the motorways cope with rain of this magnitude?

Why wasn't the drainage built to cope? Let's be frank, it's not as though Britain is new to flash flooding and torrential rain for days on end. Or, maybe, it was just the wrong sort of rain.

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  • TimMessanger  |  November 29 2012, 6:33PM

    This story doesn't make sense he starts of by saying there are financial limitations and then wonders why more cant be done!

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  • Takeaway22  |  November 28 2012, 10:41AM

    Floods now.....drought for the summer of 2013!

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  • Matt1006  |  November 28 2012, 8:58AM

    It would be nice to think that the relevant authorities (e.g. Gloucestershire Highways, and the Highways Agency) will look at every single location where flooding on the public highways has occurred, whether that be an inch of water in one lane, or feet of water closing roads completely, and then see what (if anything) can or needs to be done to prevent it happening again location-by-location. Certainly the HA should be looking at the flooding on the southbound carriageway of the M5, and on the M50 at J2, plus the numerous other locations along the M50 where rivers run across the carriageway coming out of the central reservation every time we have any reasonable amount of rain. The M50 is 50 years old, but that isn't an excuse for numerous points along it's length where the drainage is utterly inadequate. It wouldn't be tolerated on a newly-built A-road dual carriageway, so why is it seemingly allowed on a motorway...??? The HA are doing even more roadworks between J2 & J4, but not at several of the carriageway river locations. We all know that there are some locations where regular flooding happens due to blocked road gullies, and/or inadequate/blocked drainage systems beyond the gully pots. It is high time that some of these locations (there are many around Cheltenham, often at road junctions) were sorted out so that half an hour of steady rain doesn't leave ponds behind. Some flooding locations cannot be resolved by maintenance works by the highways people. But some certainly could be, and it might then mean the next time we have a wet period a few more roads might stay open.

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  • Walker100  |  November 28 2012, 8:29AM

    It's not the flash flooding or even sudden torrential downpours that has cause the problem. The main cause has been the steady rain throughout the Summer which has filled reservoirs and aquifers. They are now full and the land is has now become soaked to the extent that there is nowhere left for the rain to go. If you think this is not unusual then think about the last time you can remember a hose pipe ban being lifted in the middle of Summer.

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