“I WANT answers”.
Those are the words of Hampshire's police and crime commissioner, Simon Hayes, who is seeking urgent talks with the chief constable over the A31 fiasco that left stranded motorists fuming.
Mr Hayes accused the police of ignoring the personal welfare of drivers who were marooned in their cars for almost seven hours.
He also called for an investigation into ways of restoring gaps in the central reservation, enabling police to release traffic trapped in massive jams when a carriageway has to be closed after fatal accident.
Several cross-over points were shut years ago after a driver was killed - but the nightmare endured by hundreds of motorists on Wednesday night has sparked calls for them to be re-opened.
Mr Hayes, a former leader of New Forest District Council, said: “Tragically someone was killed and the accident had to be investigated thoroughly.
“I can understand why the road was closed but I also recognise that hundreds of drivers had their journeys disrupted for a number of hours and I'm concerned that their personal welfare was not considered at that time.
“I'll be challenging the chief constable on what could or should have been done to support people stuck in the jam and will be looking for answers.
“It would appear that no lessons were learned after the M27 had to be closed at Hedge End last year but we need to learn lessons this time.
“People were stuck on the A31 for several hours with no food or water and no access to toilets.
“Their personal welfare does not appear to have been considered. I don't know who could or should have addressed that but I'm concerned at the apparent lack of interest in the welfare of the public.”
Mr Hayes also criticised the lack of information given to commuters, many of whom texted their wives at home in the hope of finding out what was going on.
He said: “It would be unfair to expect police to give an exact time in terms of re-opening a road but we need to put some sort of mechanism in place to ensure that motorists know what's happening in situations like this, when they can't move for hours.”
Mr Hayes said experts should look at ways of providing drivers on the A31 with an escape route if a carriageway has to be closed.
“Removing some of the barriers to enable traffic to turn around would appear to be a common sense solution but I don't know if that would be possible. The grass on the central reservation might be too soft to drive over - it's something we need to look into.”
The accident and resulting chaos has fuelled the campaign for major improvements to the A31.
Mr Hayes added: “It's an extremely dangerous road for a number o0f reasons, including the fact that drivers come straight off a motorway on to a dual carriageway that is narrow.
“It's a road that needs an enormous amount of attention and re-engineering.”