Friday, April 23, 2010

South Wales Police bring chaos to Cardiff and the surrounding areas when they close the M4 motorway westbound from Junctions 33 to 35.

The press statement from the South Wales Police states "South Wales Police is currently in attendance at a serious road traffic collision on the M4 westbound between junctions 34 and 35 that occurred just before 10am. A lorry has rolled down the motorway embankment and a van has overturned on the carriageway. Emergency services are in attendance. The M4 westbound between junctions 34 and 35 has been closed and police believe that it will be shut for the whole of the afternoon and during the rush hour later in the day and possibly into tonight.

BBC News ran with this story, including a 1 minute 11 second video from the scene. The M4 westbound near Cardiff will remain closed until later on Friday evening, after a fatal crash involving a lorry and a transit van. Motorists were facing delays of up to three hours and the M4 westbound between Cardiff West and Pencoed will stay shut until at least 2000 BST. The lorry rolled down an embankment off the motorway, and a van was left on its side on the carriageway at 1000 BST.
One person was killed and two people were treated for minor injuries. The Welsh Ambulance Service said one person was confirmed dead at the scene and the two injured people were taken to the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend.
Drivers heading west along the M4 towards Bridgend are being advised to take a diversion - however delays of up to three hours have been reported by motorists attempting to travel to the suggested diversion at junction 33 from junction 32 at Coryton.



Wales Online describes the traffic delays in and around Cardiff resulting from this motorway closure. Relatively short journeys were turned into ones of several hours, with knock-on effects across large parts of South Wales. The A48 was particularly badly affected. In Cardiff, cars were backed up along almost the entire length of the A4232 dual carriageway to the city centre after South Wales Police advised motorists to use the link road.

Ex traffic officer Adrian Llewellyn-Jones, who was stuck in traffic in Cardiff for hours after travelling into the city centre for a business meeting, said: “In an hour and a half I have travelled five miles. I won’t get home until six o’clock at this rate, in another hour and a half. It’s just mad that they continually shut the road with no regard for other motorists. Once the casualties are gone then there is no reason why they should not clear the road within 30 minutes. As an ex-traffic officer there is no excuse for it.”

Speaking from his Toyota estate he added: “The police are more intent on turning it into a crime scene and spending up to 24 hours closing the motorway, which is madness.”

Mark Eldridge, of Canton, Cardiff, was also trapped in the chaos. The 29-year-old said: : “I was travelling back to work in Culverhouse Cross after attending a meeting in Taffs Well. After exiting Junction 32 I noticed a tailback of traffic, switched on the traffic report on my car radio and found out that the M4 was closed between junction 33 and 35. A nine-mile journey took me one hour and 40 minutes.”

Cardiff council said: “Our guys are incredibly busy looking at the CCTV. Traffic at the moment is currently all the way to the Butetown tunnel.”

...So there you have it, yet again. There is an accident and the Police close the road for as long as they damn well like, regardless of the opinions of the taxpayers who pay their damn wages. This happens all around our country, it is not just a Welsh thing. This tragic fatal accident happened at 10 o'clock this morning and I agree with ex traffic officer Adrian Llewellyn-Jones that once the casualties are gone then there is no reason why they should not clear the road within 30 minutes. Closing the road for hours on end will never bring back the dead. Sadly accidents do happen but by closing a road it will not make the accident "undone".

We must look at the cost-benefit of the Police closing our roads where there has been an accident. Why assume that all accidents are a crime scene? The cost of these avoidable delays from the Police closing our roads is borne by everyone. Everyone driving at work will take longer to do their job and at the end of the day, you, the customer has to pay. I finished work 60 minutes later than my scheduled finishing time, time that must be paid for! Then in my own time, a journey of 10 miles home that usually takes 20 to 25 minutes, took me 60 minutes - only because I know this area well. If I had taken my normal tea-time route home, I do not know when I would have got back because a friend who lives on the Rhydlafr Estate said she had cancelled going out tonight because she could not drive off her estate, the traffic along the Llantrisant Road had gridlocked.

There is no need for the Police to close our roads for so long. This is not in the public interest and I hope the Welsh Assembly sorts the South Wales Police out. Twice the Police have annoyed me today, the first time was in London this morning. The Police have a helicopter, a bloody noisy thing. Did this wretched Police resource fly swiftly to the scene of a crime or followed a pursuit? No, it just hovered, clackeredy clack, clackeredy clack, just south of London Victoria Coach Station. You try reading a book sat on a bench in the small park behind the coach station. Clatter, clatter, clatter went the rotors - what a dreadful racket this noise was and it spoilt my rest break. How long did the residents have to suffer this awful noise from the Police helicopter hovering above their homes? The constant racket from the rotors got the better of me and not having a surface to air missile at hand, I returned to my coach just to minimize the noise.

The Police wonder why they no longer have the support of the public who pay them. I can give you 2 sample reasons why without thinking very hard!
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