How Stansted traffic ground to a halt amid gas leak, damaged water main and scheduled road works
Multiple road works brought Stansted to a standstill as a "perfect storm" of emergency closures and scheduled works resulted in a "nightmare" for frustrated motorists.
A gas leak in Church Road, a damaged water main at the four-way junction of Chapel Hill, Cambridge Road, Silver Street and Bentfield Road and planned works on Stansted Road, Church Road and High Lane led to all routes in and out of the village clogging up.
Motorists complained about lengthy queues and delays to their journeys.
Stansted's Essex county councillor Ray Gooding said that unforeseen emergencies had compounded the situation. “It was a bit of a nightmare – it was the perfect storm.
“Everybody's been blaming Essex Highways, but an emergency is an emergency and if there's a gas leak then contractors just go in, they don't need permission from highways.
"There were some scheduled works being carried out in High Lane, but within a few hours of each other we had a water leak in Cambridge Road and a gas leak in Church Road.
“It was just really unfortunate that everything happened at the same time. It was a nightmare for drivers and I know people were getting really angry. I understand people’s frustrations and I've been liaising with highways constantly trying to answer people’s queries.”
Heavy rainfall last Friday (Dec 4) added to congestion along the main B1383 through Stansted. Severe flooding north of Newport towards Audley End meant the road remained underwater and closed this week.
An Essex Highways spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, a number of urgent utility repairs coincided in Stansted.
"These included continuing repairs to a gas leak on Stansted Road and a similar problem on Church Road, essential water main repairs on Silver Street, Cambridge Road and Stansted Road, UK Power Networks road surfacing reinstatement on Silver Street, pothole repairs on Maitland Road and urgent drain cover repair on Lower Street.”