Update: A23 and Balcombe tunnel reopen after flooding

The Argus: Transport chaos as heavy rain shuts A23 and trainline Transport chaos as heavy rain shuts A23 and trainline

The A23 carriage way has now reopened in both directions following flooding.

At 9.45am, the northbound carriage of the A23 opened followed an hour later by the southbound carriage.

Southern have just announced at 10.15am that the line at Balcombe is now open and trains are running between Brighton and London again.

The A23 had been closed in both directions between the M23 at Pease Pottage and the A272 turn-off at Bolney due to flooding.

Trains between Haywards Heath and Three Bridges had been cancelled since 6.30am because of flooding.

Suusex Police are now advising motorists to consider whether they really need to make a car journey before setting out today.

The road was closed at just before 5am this morning after an inch and a half of rain fell overnight.

Specialist equipment called gully suckers arrived at the scene at just before 7am and are currently clearing away the standing water.

Not time has been given yet for a scheduled reopening.

Diversions routes are currently in place with northbound traffic exiting the A23 northbound at the junction with the A272 and travel westbound to join the A24 northbound and travel to join the A264 eastbound following signs to join the M23 at J11.

Southbound traffic are being redirecvted from the M23 at J11 to join the A264 travelling westbound to join the A24 southbound and then join the A272 eastbound to join the A23 soutbound.

Tailbacks coming out of Brighton are stretching back about five miles with delays of at least an hour and a half.

Rail services between Haywards Heath and Three Bridges are cancelled in both directions due to flooding in the Balcombe tunnel.

Replacement buses are being affected by flooding on local roads, so passengers for London are advised to travel via Barnham and the Arun Valley, or via Hastings for Southeastern services.

Southern tickets are being accepted on Southeastern and First Capital Connect services.

The rail operator are also reporting that no trains are running between Hurst Green and East Grinsteads because of flooding at Lingfield.

The roads between the two are also flooded which means no rail replacement buses can operate either.

Flooding is also being reported across Crawley while the A24 also has flooding at Findon, Broadbridge Heath and Kingsfold. 

Mark Hallett, duty operations manager for the Highways Agency in the South East,  said everything was being done to drain the water and reopen the road as soon as it was safe to do so.

He said: “This is a the main route between Brighton and London and obviously is heavily used.

"We have equipment on its way and will attempt to drain the water and reopen the road in both directions as soon as it is safe, but safety has to be our main priority.”

Have you been affected by the traffic problems?

Leave your comments below, email neil.vowles@theargus.co.uk or contact 01273 544530. 

Comments (27)

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7:48am Fri 17 Jan 14

tekniko says...

Have you been affected by the traffic problems? Yes, I can't get to work.
Have you been affected by the traffic problems? Yes, I can't get to work. tekniko

7:59am Fri 17 Jan 14

Can this be says...

18 inches of rain overnight? Must be a new UK record?
18 inches of rain overnight? Must be a new UK record? Can this be

8:21am Fri 17 Jan 14

Telscombe Cliffy says...

Can this be wrote:
18 inches of rain overnight? Must be a new UK record?
Says centimetres-but that's still a record?
[quote][p][bold]Can this be[/bold] wrote: 18 inches of rain overnight? Must be a new UK record?[/p][/quote]Says centimetres-but that's still a record? Telscombe Cliffy

8:23am Fri 17 Jan 14

Telscombe Cliffy says...

Oh and it's railway line not trainline. I think The Trainline is a phone-in booking service.
Oh and it's railway line not trainline. I think The Trainline is a phone-in booking service. Telscombe Cliffy

8:40am Fri 17 Jan 14

Midvale says...

Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods !

Pathetic.
Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods ! Pathetic. Midvale

8:52am Fri 17 Jan 14

tekniko says...

Midvale wrote:
Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods !

Pathetic.
It's not finished yet which is why it has flooded! Anyway, the traffic doesn't look too bad in the picture.
[quote][p][bold]Midvale[/bold] wrote: Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods ! Pathetic.[/p][/quote]It's not finished yet which is why it has flooded! Anyway, the traffic doesn't look too bad in the picture. tekniko

8:56am Fri 17 Jan 14

Midvale says...

tekniko wrote:
Midvale wrote:
Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods !

Pathetic.
It's not finished yet which is why it has flooded! Anyway, the traffic doesn't look too bad in the picture.
Hilarious...
[quote][p][bold]tekniko[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Midvale[/bold] wrote: Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods ! Pathetic.[/p][/quote]It's not finished yet which is why it has flooded! Anyway, the traffic doesn't look too bad in the picture.[/p][/quote]Hilarious... Midvale

9:22am Fri 17 Jan 14

Withdean-er says...

Telscombe Cliffy wrote:
Can this be wrote:
18 inches of rain overnight? Must be a new UK record?
Says centimetres-but that's still a record?
It would be 18mm, which is still substantial for S E England in say 10 hours.

No way was it 18cm.
[quote][p][bold]Telscombe Cliffy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Can this be[/bold] wrote: 18 inches of rain overnight? Must be a new UK record?[/p][/quote]Says centimetres-but that's still a record?[/p][/quote]It would be 18mm, which is still substantial for S E England in say 10 hours. No way was it 18cm. Withdean-er

9:24am Fri 17 Jan 14

Hove Actually says...

I blame the greens............ju
st because I can

over to you HJarrs aka kitcrap to defend the indefensible
I blame the greens............ju st because I can over to you HJarrs aka kitcrap to defend the indefensible Hove Actually

9:26am Fri 17 Jan 14

Ouseler says...

I saw Brighton Councillors doing a Rain Dance yesterday. It's their new method of keeping motor vehicles out of Brighton....and it worked..
I saw Brighton Councillors doing a Rain Dance yesterday. It's their new method of keeping motor vehicles out of Brighton....and it worked.. Ouseler

10:25am Fri 17 Jan 14

kipper12 says...

2 hours 50 minutes from portslade to crawley !!!!!!!!!!!

what a nightmare for a journey which i normally do in 35 mins !!!
2 hours 50 minutes from portslade to crawley !!!!!!!!!!! what a nightmare for a journey which i normally do in 35 mins !!! kipper12

10:38am Fri 17 Jan 14

LeonBIank666 says...

I blame the Greens for the weather. Before all this recycling and saving the planet cobblers, I can't remember there being particularly odd weather (apart from the summer of 76 and winter of 91)
I blame the Greens for the weather. Before all this recycling and saving the planet cobblers, I can't remember there being particularly odd weather (apart from the summer of 76 and winter of 91) LeonBIank666

12:34pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Ohnotagain ! says...

"Southbound traffic are being redirected from the M23 at J11 to join the A264 travelling westbound to join the A24 southbound and then join the A272 eastbound to join the A23 soutbound."

Adds miles and miles to your journey, I came off at Pease Pottage, went through Handcross, through Staplefield and re-joined at a completely deserted Warninglid, easy easy easy and only added 10 mins max to my journey.
"Southbound traffic are being redirected from the M23 at J11 to join the A264 travelling westbound to join the A24 southbound and then join the A272 eastbound to join the A23 soutbound." Adds miles and miles to your journey, I came off at Pease Pottage, went through Handcross, through Staplefield and re-joined at a completely deserted Warninglid, easy easy easy and only added 10 mins max to my journey. Ohnotagain !

12:45pm Fri 17 Jan 14

sussexram40 says...

Midvale wrote:
Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods !

Pathetic.
Loads of big trees have been cut down around the bendy bit. They must have sucked up masses of water from the ground. Without them it may flood a lot.
[quote][p][bold]Midvale[/bold] wrote: Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods ! Pathetic.[/p][/quote]Loads of big trees have been cut down around the bendy bit. They must have sucked up masses of water from the ground. Without them it may flood a lot. sussexram40

12:57pm Fri 17 Jan 14

tekniko says...

sussexram40 wrote:
Midvale wrote:
Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods !

Pathetic.
Loads of big trees have been cut down around the bendy bit. They must have sucked up masses of water from the ground. Without them it may flood a lot.
Oh for heavens sake, IT'S NOT FINISHED. Take a drive along the road to see what they are doing please. They haven't even started on the Southbound bit which currently will be prone to flooding until they raise the road!
[quote][p][bold]sussexram40[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Midvale[/bold] wrote: Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods ! Pathetic.[/p][/quote]Loads of big trees have been cut down around the bendy bit. They must have sucked up masses of water from the ground. Without them it may flood a lot.[/p][/quote]Oh for heavens sake, IT'S NOT FINISHED. Take a drive along the road to see what they are doing please. They haven't even started on the Southbound bit which currently will be prone to flooding until they raise the road! tekniko

2:40pm Fri 17 Jan 14

keswick says...

Does anyone know if you can apply for a compensation payment on a rail season ticket ?
Does anyone know if you can apply for a compensation payment on a rail season ticket ? keswick

2:40pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Midvale says...

tekniko wrote:
sussexram40 wrote:
Midvale wrote:
Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods !

Pathetic.
Loads of big trees have been cut down around the bendy bit. They must have sucked up masses of water from the ground. Without them it may flood a lot.
Oh for heavens sake, IT'S NOT FINISHED. Take a drive along the road to see what they are doing please. They haven't even started on the Southbound bit which currently will be prone to flooding until they raise the road!
I do drive it, five bl**dy days a week !
[quote][p][bold]tekniko[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sussexram40[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Midvale[/bold] wrote: Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods ! Pathetic.[/p][/quote]Loads of big trees have been cut down around the bendy bit. They must have sucked up masses of water from the ground. Without them it may flood a lot.[/p][/quote]Oh for heavens sake, IT'S NOT FINISHED. Take a drive along the road to see what they are doing please. They haven't even started on the Southbound bit which currently will be prone to flooding until they raise the road![/p][/quote]I do drive it, five bl**dy days a week ! Midvale

4:28pm Fri 17 Jan 14

aat99 says...

BML2 ..... that;'s what we need !
BML2 ..... that;'s what we need ! aat99

5:24pm Fri 17 Jan 14

jackthekipper says...

no pictures,boring
no pictures,boring jackthekipper

5:29pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Pete_N says...

The Balcombe Tunnel incident shows once again why we need BML2 - the proposed alternative London to Brighton rail route via Lewes. The Balcombe tunnel has had a history for years of being the 'weakest link' in the route - it is plagued with all sort of geological problems mostly to do with ingress of water. And there is no useful alternative. If say the Clayton Tunnel is blocked, well, trains can be diverted via Lewes. If the Quarry or Merstham tunnels are affected, trains can be diverted via Redhill. But for the Balcombe tunnel, the only possible re-routing would be via Horsham and Arundel - miles of detour! Hence the buses.

The proposed BML2 route would avoid all these potential trouble spots at a stroke. And we need the capacity - trains on the London Brighton line are jam packed - even outside peak hours.

Using a section of the Bluebell Railway, and re-establishing the link between Horsted Keynes and Haywards Heath, would also dodge Balcombe, but this is not being seriously considered as a mainline commuter route.

BML2: Go for it!
The Balcombe Tunnel incident shows once again why we need BML2 - the proposed alternative London to Brighton rail route via Lewes. The Balcombe tunnel has had a history for years of being the 'weakest link' in the route - it is plagued with all sort of geological problems mostly to do with ingress of water. And there is no useful alternative. If say the Clayton Tunnel is blocked, well, trains can be diverted via Lewes. If the Quarry or Merstham tunnels are affected, trains can be diverted via Redhill. But for the Balcombe tunnel, the only possible re-routing would be via Horsham and Arundel - miles of detour! Hence the buses. The proposed BML2 route would avoid all these potential trouble spots at a stroke. And we need the capacity - trains on the London Brighton line are jam packed - even outside peak hours. Using a section of the Bluebell Railway, and re-establishing the link between Horsted Keynes and Haywards Heath, would also dodge Balcombe, but this is not being seriously considered as a mainline commuter route. BML2: Go for it! Pete_N

5:48pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Juleyanne says...

Yes lets just plow up more dwindling countryside and wildlife habitat and ruin it forever because of a few delays.
Yes lets just plow up more dwindling countryside and wildlife habitat and ruin it forever because of a few delays. Juleyanne

6:28pm Fri 17 Jan 14

aat99 says...

Juleyanne wrote:
Yes lets just plow up more dwindling countryside and wildlife habitat and ruin it forever because of a few delays.
CAR DRIVER NO DOUBT .....
[quote][p][bold]Juleyanne[/bold] wrote: Yes lets just plow up more dwindling countryside and wildlife habitat and ruin it forever because of a few delays.[/p][/quote]CAR DRIVER NO DOUBT ..... aat99

6:56pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Withdean-er says...

Juleyanne wrote:
Yes lets just plow up more dwindling countryside and wildlife habitat and ruin it forever because of a few delays.
And the destruction of countryside will increase the chance of flooding, in removing the natural water holding capacity of woodland and creating yet more tarmac.
[quote][p][bold]Juleyanne[/bold] wrote: Yes lets just plow up more dwindling countryside and wildlife habitat and ruin it forever because of a few delays.[/p][/quote]And the destruction of countryside will increase the chance of flooding, in removing the natural water holding capacity of woodland and creating yet more tarmac. Withdean-er

12:19am Sat 18 Jan 14

All 9 of me says...

aat99 wrote:
Juleyanne wrote:
Yes lets just plow up more dwindling countryside and wildlife habitat and ruin it forever because of a few delays.
CAR DRIVER NO DOUBT .....
errrrrr
[quote][p][bold]aat99[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Juleyanne[/bold] wrote: Yes lets just plow up more dwindling countryside and wildlife habitat and ruin it forever because of a few delays.[/p][/quote]CAR DRIVER NO DOUBT .....[/p][/quote]errrrrr All 9 of me

4:41pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Can this be says...

Withdean-er wrote:
Telscombe Cliffy wrote:
Can this be wrote:
18 inches of rain overnight? Must be a new UK record?
Says centimetres-but that's still a record?
It would be 18mm, which is still substantial for S E England in say 10 hours.

No way was it 18cm.
First it was 18 inches. Then it was changed to 18 centimetres. Then it was suggested (sensibly) that it might have been 18 millimetres. Then the article was changed to an inch and a half, which I make 38 millimetres. Am I entitled to feel confused?
[quote][p][bold]Withdean-er[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Telscombe Cliffy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Can this be[/bold] wrote: 18 inches of rain overnight? Must be a new UK record?[/p][/quote]Says centimetres-but that's still a record?[/p][/quote]It would be 18mm, which is still substantial for S E England in say 10 hours. No way was it 18cm.[/p][/quote]First it was 18 inches. Then it was changed to 18 centimetres. Then it was suggested (sensibly) that it might have been 18 millimetres. Then the article was changed to an inch and a half, which I make 38 millimetres. Am I entitled to feel confused? Can this be

4:48pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Brighton1000 says...

sussexram40 wrote:
Midvale wrote:
Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods !

Pathetic.
Loads of big trees have been cut down around the bendy bit. They must have sucked up masses of water from the ground. Without them it may flood a lot.
ha ha hilariously dumb comment
[quote][p][bold]sussexram40[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Midvale[/bold] wrote: Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods ! Pathetic.[/p][/quote]Loads of big trees have been cut down around the bendy bit. They must have sucked up masses of water from the ground. Without them it may flood a lot.[/p][/quote]ha ha hilariously dumb comment Brighton1000

4:38pm Sun 19 Jan 14

Freeman No.1 says...

tekniko wrote:
Midvale wrote:
Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods !

Pathetic.
It's not finished yet which is why it has flooded! Anyway, the traffic doesn't look too bad in the picture.
Here's the bit that blows my mind -

"Traffic flows through the site are running well generally with 2 lanes in both directions in contraflow on the southbound carriageway." (http://www.highways
.gov.uk/roads/road-p
rojects/a23-handcros
s-to-warninglid/)

So it's a 40mph zone and has two lanes running each way, with generally good traffic flow. With this being the case, why are they faffing about with the road again if all that was needed was a speed reduction?
[quote][p][bold]tekniko[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Midvale[/bold] wrote: Three years, millions of pounds, hours and hours of delays, a totally redesigned road through Handcross Hill and it STILL floods ! Pathetic.[/p][/quote]It's not finished yet which is why it has flooded! Anyway, the traffic doesn't look too bad in the picture.[/p][/quote]Here's the bit that blows my mind - "Traffic flows through the site are running well generally with 2 lanes in both directions in contraflow on the southbound carriageway." (http://www.highways .gov.uk/roads/road-p rojects/a23-handcros s-to-warninglid/) So it's a 40mph zone and has two lanes running each way, with generally good traffic flow. With this being the case, why are they faffing about with the road again if all that was needed was a speed reduction? Freeman No.1

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