RESIDENTS have called for the electronic barriers at a level-crossing to be manned at all times after they malfunctioned causing traffic chaos.

The famous gates at Frinton’s railway station became jammed and failed to lift for what some people have said was more than an hour on Thursday.

As a result, vehicles looking to travel over the tracks in either the direction of Connaught Avenue or Elm Tree Avenue came to a complete standstill.

Congestion also became a problem in Frinton Road, particularly near the roundabout next to the gates.

Eventually, the issue was resolved after Network Rail sent out a team to rectify the problem at 3.15pm.

After two hours, in which time engineers manually operated the gates, the repairs had been completed.

James Anthony Goddard became caught up in the traffic queues for at least 20 minutes before eventually doing a U-turn and trying his luck via Walton seafront.

However, the volume of cars trying to navigate via alternative routes meant the neighbouring seaside town also became clogged up.

“The roads were really hectic and there was lots of traffic,” he said.

“People were trying to go over the bridge before Walton which was causing heavy congestion.

“Regular maintenance and servicing needs to be done. The station should be manned at all times so the problems can be rectified quicker.”

The barriers have been plagued with problems since the original wooden gates were removed in 2009.

Clacton MP Giles Watling has always been critical of the decision to stop manning the iconic gates.

He said: “The only access to Frinton for emergency services is via those gates and there could have been a life-threatening situation.

“The only other way is through an unadopted road via Walton which adds a lot of time to the journey.

“If someone needs to be rushed to hospital it would take them much longer.

“There was no reason to get rid of the manned gates and I can’t see why you would – it’s nuts.”