- January 17, 2014
The A23 and the railway between Brighton and London have been closed after heavy rain overnight.
Thousands of commuters from Brighton and Hove have been stuck on gridlocked roads after the Highways Agency closed the A23 at shortly before 5am today (Friday 17 January).
The road is closed in both directions after 18in of water gathered in a section of the A23 where roadworks are taking place at Handcross Hill.
Sussex Police said: “Think carefully before taking to the roads.”
On the trains the picture was similar. Network Rail said: “Flooding at Balcombe has closed the line between Haywards Heath and Gatwick Airport.”
Effort are under way to clear the flooding from the tunnel at Balcombe.
First Capital Connect said: “Delays to journeys of up to 120 minutes can be expected.
“Trains are running between Brighton and Haywards Heath, and between Gatwick Airport and London Blackfriars.
“Replacement buses will run between Haywards Heath and Gatwick Airport. But, although the buses have been requested, this may take time to put in place due to many roads also being flooded.”
Southern said: “Trains between London and the South Coast will be diverted via Horsham and Arundel, with delays.
“Trains cannot run between Three Bridges and Haywards Heath. Passengers are advised not to travel via Haywards Heath as there will only be a very limited replacement bus service.”
The Highways Agency said: “The A23 is currently closed in both directions due to flooding at Handcross Hill.
“Heavy rain overnight has led to 18in of water across the carriageway where roadworks are currently in place, between the VOSA weighbridge and garden centre.
“Traffic officers are at the scene and a bidirectional diversion is in place using the A272 through Buckbarn Cross, the A24, A264 and then rejoining the M23 at Pease Pottage.”
The duty operations manager for the Highways Agency in the south east, Mark Hallett, said that everything was being done to drain the water and reopen the road as soon as it was safe to do so.
Mr Hallett said: “This is 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.”
Sussex Police said: “The A23 is currently closed between Bolney and Pease Pottage, leading to extensive tailbacks, and long delays are expected southbound.
“Although diversions have been set up, many other roads in the area have also been badly affected or closed by flooding.
“They include the A24 at Broadbridge Heath, Findon and Dial Post, the A29 at Bury Hill, near Pulborough, the A281 at Henfield and the A27 east of Chichester.
“Some drivers have ignored warning signs or have got stuck after driving into water, adding to the difficulties.
“Police advice is to allow extra time for journeys, to be prepared to stop or find an alternative route and not to take chances if flooding is encountered.”
One estimate suggested that the northbound A23 could be reopened at about 10am.