A HEAD teacher has slammed TfL after parents and children were forced to choose between crossing a busy road or wading through a flooded underpass on the school run.

Hillary Hunwicks, head teacher at Oakdale Infants School in Woodville Road, South Woodford, sent text alerts warning parents the A406 underpass between Maybank Road and Mulberry Way in South Woodford had flooded this morning (September 24).

She said: “Every time we have heavy rain we have staff, parents and their children struggling to get through the underpass.

“At some point TfL need to take some responsibility for sorting the problem out because it happens time and time again.”

TfL have installed a pumping system in the subway, but it does not always kick in.

In July they told the Guardian that work was under way to solve the problem, but when the heavens opened this morning, the tunnel flooded again.

Nel Adams, 38, of Maybank Road, has two children at Oakdale.

She said: “The vast majority of parents won’t risk crossing the road because it’s just too dangerous.

“We got a text from the school at 8.10am telling us the underpass was flooded so we were able to get our wellies on.

“But I have seen parents taking off their shoes and socks and wading through with their children on their shoulders before.

“Worse than that you sometimes see 10-year-olds taking their chances crossing the motorway.”

Frank Collins of the Maybank Community Association called TfL to report a problem this morning.

He said: “I also asked TfL to explain what was happening in July.

“They just said the underpass flood was due to heavy rainfall.

“Do they think we are stupid? We know the flooding is caused by rain.

What we want to know is why their pump doesn’t work.”

Engineers arrived shortly after 2pm to clear the tunnel of water, but were unable to tell Mr Collins why the pump hadn’t worked.

Fellow MCA member Tony Loffhagen, 74, added: “We have been trying to get a crossing on Chigwell road and some better traffic lights because it is really too dangerous for people to cross that road.

“TfL say they can’t afford it, but if they can’t do that they must ensure the underpass remains clear.”

Dana Skelley, Director of Roads at TfL said: “Due to the unexpectedly high levels of rainfall in east London on Sunday and Monday, TfL prioritised its contractor’s activities to locations with the highest safety risks.

"TfL engineers attended the Maybank subway on Monday afternoon and quickly cleared the water from this location and I wish to apologise for any inconvenience that was caused by this flooding.

"Work is currently underway to review the pumping system installed at this location to see whether we can to reduce the chance of this kind of incident occurring again in the future."

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