Torrential rain caused flooding chaos on Black Country roads today, leaving cars stranded and major routes blocked.
Heavy downpours resulted in problems for rush hour commuters across Wolverhampton and in South Staffordshire – and there is likely to be no let up with more rain on the way.
There was flooding on roads in the city centre, Parkfields, Codsall and Trescott, as well as at Wolverhampton Railway Station where leaves blocked drains and blocked access to the main entrance.
The chaos started yesterday when the M54 had to be closed in both directions due to severe flooding. The Highways Agency was today monitoring the motorway after large volumes of water from an adjoining field forced the motorway to shut.
A section between junction 6 at Ketley Brook and junction 7 at Wellington was sealed off yesterday to allow workers to clear sediment from the westbound carriageway. It reopened at around 4pm.
Surface water on roads leading drivers to and from the M5 had also caused some drains to overflow meaning reduced viability due to spray.
There was also problems with flooding on the A458 Bridgnorth Road, at Stourton, near Stourbridge, by Stourton Park rugby ground.
With heavy rain expected to last into tomorrow, flood alerts have also been issued by the Environment Agency for rivers in the area.
In Codsall, motorists had to contend with several feet of water flooding under the village’s railway bridge in Station Road, with one van left abandoned.
Trescott Ford in Furnace Grange Road was completely blocked by floods, while on Ring Road St Andrew’s in the city centre drivers were having to avoid using the right hand lane which was flooded before the Clarence Road turn off.
Meanwhile, floods stopped cars in Parkfields today and left one motorist stranded for an hour and a half.
Matt Hadley, aged 27, was on his way to work at around 8.15am when his Peugeot 206 broke down on Major Street. A recovery crew attended and Mr Hadley had to wade through the water barefoot while his car was hauled onto the back of the tow truck.
Mr Hadley, from Coven Heath, said: “I was driving to work when I saw the road ahead had flooded. Cars were passing through in the other direction but when I tried to drive through the car just conked out. The water is quite deep and I was just frustrated to see cars passing me while I was stuck.”
Bilston East Councillor Bert Turner was on his way to a council meeting when he had to turn his car around on Major Street because of the flooding.
“I have been driving down this road for 20 years and although it has flooded before I’ve never known it this bad,” he said.
Residents living close to the junction of Dixon Street and Joan Street, Ettingshall, were also faced with long traffic delays as the road flooded outside their homes.
Maggie Hurd, aged 32, who lives on Dixon Street, said: “We have lived here for about a year and every time we have a downpour the road floods. This is as bad as it has ever been. The water is way above the kerb. The traffic really built up this morning because people were trying to avoid the deep water.”
Wolverhampton City Council said it had responded to a number of calls in the past two days with its ‘gulley cleansing crews’ clearing blocked sewers and gulleys. Council spokesman Gurdip Thandi said: “This is often caused by fallen leaves at this time of year, which result in blockages or slow running water into the sewer system.
“To resolve this, we clear leaves from gulley tops or, where necessary, take off excess water. We will respond to all calls we receive but our regular gulley cleaning programme has ensured these incidents are kept to a minimum. Blockages identified in sewer systems are forwarded to Severn Trent Water to investigate.”
The train station blockage began at around 7am. David Whitehouse, Virgin Trains’ station manager at Wolverhampton, said: “Following heavy rain falls and leaves falling off trees into the drains, there was flooding in some areas outside the station.
“Our station team reacted promptly and the issue was quickly resolved.”
With heavy rain expected to last into tomorrow, flood alerts have also been issued by the Environment Agency for rivers. The Met Office today said the forecast remained unsettled for the days ahead.
Dan Williams of the Met Office said: “It looks unsettled into the weekend and indeed into the start of next week as well.
“It looks as though we will see periods of rain and perhaps some drier brighter spells.”