I been commuting for years – at least twenty-three – and am very familiar with the A13 and A127 in and out of Southend-on-Sea. That familiarity has been acquired, at times, at less than pedestrian pace as traffic jams are a frequent event.
The traffic jams are most reliably found coming into the borough. However, those heading west will often find their journeys made slower by accidents, the weight of traffic, road works, and the weather.
My fifteen mile journey to work this morning was achieved in 105 minutes. This is not my worst, but is an indicator of what an accident can do to a journey that normally takes a little over half an hour.
These incidents affect not just commuters. All users of the two arterial routes are affected. When the A127 is clogged or closed the A13 finds itself having to deal with an enormous increase in traffic – and vice versa.
The route to Bedford includes the M25 and M1. These motorways are often subject to delays too. Many years ago I worked in Dunstable (at 70 miles still some way short of the 90 mile journey to Bedford) and have personal experience of the delays. Twenty years have elapsed since, and it is true that much of the route has been improved. These twenty years have also seen an increase in traffic volumes, and these volumes are likely to increase in coming years. The route to Bedford, as estimated by the AA, takes one hour and fifty minutes. This estimate takes no account of delays.
My delayed arrival at work is an inconvenience. I will work late to make up the hours, and hope for a return to normal journey times when I come to leave this evening. However, for a vehicle carrying blood for testing these delays are more than an inconvenience, and for those whose lives hang in the balance these delays could be fatal.
If you want to know why the suggested move of blood testing from Southend to Bedford is a very bad idea come and sit in the next traffic jam on the A127.