Man in hospital and traffic chaos on roads as lorry overturns on A27 on Southwick Tunnel (From The Argus)
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Man in hospital and traffic chaos on roads as lorry overturns on A27 on Southwick Tunnel
A 79 year old was suffered serious injuries after a horrific accident on the A27 caused chaos on the roads for hours yesterday.
Drivers sat in massive traffic jams for hours and shoppers were trapped in Tesco at the Holmbush Centre, Shoreham unable to leave the car park.
Roads surrounding the A27 - used by 47,000 in both directions daily, according to the Department for Transport - remained gridlocked last night after a lorry travelling along the trunk road smashed into the back of a slow-moving car and crashed through the central reservation.
The crash took place in the eastbound lane of the carriageway. Police believe a black people carrier, which was being driven by a 49-year-old man and was also occupied by a 79-year-old man, suffered mechanical failure and was slowing down when the crash occurred.
It had its hazard lights on when a lorry crashed into it from behind.
The lorry, being driven by a 44-year-old man careered through the central reservation into the westbound carriageway. It overturned, blocking the lanes of the carriageway. Luckily no vehicle travelling westbound was struck.
The black people carrier remained in the eastbound carriageway and debris spread across the road.
Police and Highways Agency officers spent hours cleaning up the debris. Police closed a major stretch of the road in both directions for five hours. The road was not expected to be fully open until this morning (fri).
The oldest man was taken by air ambulance to Southampton General Hospital suffering from serious but not life threatening head injuries.
The driver of the car was taken by road ambulance to the Royal Sussex County Hospital suffering from chest injuries and a fractured leg.
The lorry driver was also by road ambulance to the Brighton hospital with minor injuries.
Both the east and west bound carriageways of the A27 were closed between Holmbush and Hangleton between 1pm and 6pm.
Motorists travelling in both directions along the A27 were diverted off the road before they hit the closed section, with many immediately hitting stationary traffic.
Drivers travelling westbound - away from Brighton - were diverted off the A27 at the Hangleton link road in Hove.
Drivers travelling eastbound - towards Brighton - were diverted off the A27 at the Holmbush interchange in Shoreham.
Brighton and Hove City Council warned the Hangleton link road was very slow-moving at 5pm yesterday.
Staff and shoppers at the Holmbush Centre, off the A270 Old Shoreham Road, said they were physically unable to leave the centre because there was so much traffic outside from around 1pm, when the crash occurred.
One person, writing on The Argus's website, said: “Staff and customers at the Holmbush Centre at Shoreham have been stuck since this happened as they cannot get out to the A270 to go home.”
One man, writing on Twitter, said he had been shopping at the centre but decided to abandon his car and go home.
Sam Wood, manager of American Golf, near the Shoreham by-pass slip road, said: “It's horrendous, completely chock-a-block. Everyone's trying to come off at the roundabout but it's all at a standstill. People can't even get out of Tesco.
“That tunnel is closed quite frequently and as soon as it happens it gets really bad. It's the straw that breaks the camel's back.”
Alan Robins, Labour transport spokesman and councillor for South Portslade, added: “It's taken half an hour for me to get half a mile on the A27. It's a nightmare - extremely frustrating.”
A spokesman from the centre claimed he was “not aware” of any traffic chaos of this magnitude.
Police confirmed even when the crash debris was cleared traffic was likely to be “very heavy for a period afterwards”.
Speaking at 5.30pm yesterday, a police spokesman said: “ “One lane westbound will reopen at 6pm but it will not be until the early hours of the morning at least before it fully reopens as the central barrier must first be repaired.”
Police managed to escort drivers who were in the vicinity of the crash when it occurred off the A27, so no one was trapped in the road or the Southwick Tunnel - which was also shut - throughout yesterday.
Officers are appealing for information about anyone who saw the vehicles involved before the crash.
Sergeant Tony Crisp said: "Officers are keen to speak to anyone who saw the people carrier travelling slowly or the lorry before the accident or who saw the collision happen.”
Anyone with information should call 101 quoting serial 813 of 25 July or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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