Firefighters rescue motorists attempting to - illegally - drive through flooded and CLOSED Welney Wash Road on A1101

PUBLISHED: 11:49 04 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:49 04 January 2018

The A1101 is closed at Welney due to flooding. Picture: Ian Burt

The A1101 is closed at Welney due to flooding. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

Fire chiefs criticised drivers for taking foolish risks after being called to rescue motorists who ignored warning signs and tried to cross the flooded Welney Wash Road last night.

The A1101 is closed at Welney due to flooding. Picture: Ian BurtThe A1101 is closed at Welney due to flooding. Picture: Ian Burt

Littleport fire fighters were called out three times in the past 24 hours to extract hapless motorists attempting to cross the flooded road.

A Cambs Fire spokesman today said: “We’ve spent several hours retrieving people from vehicles in water overnight on A1101 just south of Welney.

“The road remains CLOSED in both directions due to flooding.

“Please don’t run the risk, and seek alternative routes.”

They also advised drivers to adapt to the wet conditions when travelling today due to a lot of surface water on the roads with some areas of localised flooding.

When the A1101 road flooded two years ago, East Cambs police threatened to prosecute those who attempted to drive through it, warning that “it is an offence to disobey the signs and breach the cordon.”

Heavy rainfall causes the River Ouse level at Welney Causeway to rise and spill over onto the flood plains, which were built to store excess water centuries ago.

Flooding makes the A1101 impassable between Welney and Suspension Bridge, leaving the village cut off from the south and drivers facing a 30-mile detour.

In 2016, the road was closed for more than a week after days of heavy rainfall led to water levels rising to three metres in some places.

In January 2016, a BBC journalist and parish council chairman attempted to disobey flood warning signs at Welney less than 24 hours after police warned it was an offence to

The BBC report was linked to a flood summit in Downham Market organised by three local MPs that heard a permanent solution to the crossing could cost £5million.

The meeting heard that closures caused by flooding would be reduced by more than 50 per cent if the minimum height of the road was raised by one metre.

Initial estimates had suggested the work would cost around £1 million to complete but highways officials felt that it would cost around £5 million, because of the need for more extensive works.

MP Steve Barclay said he has continued to raise the issue of flooding at Welney since 2013: in 2014 he called a meeting at Chatteris to discuss the wider implications of flooding in the Fens.

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