Drivers and motorcyclists were frustrated when they found the route from East to West Sussex was closed during Tuesday’s rush hour.
There were no signs indicating the closure and after long queues they had to perform a U-turn.
The carriageway between Coopers Green and Oast Farm iced over when surface water froze. There was also a burst water main in Hurstwood Road outside Buxted Primary School, which had to close.
This was the second night when ice on the A272 caused serious accidents - Uckfield firecrews attended the scene last Thursday when two cars had skidded and overturned.
Buxted resident Scott Logan said: “I’ve seen five accidents and I believe there were seven. Highways people were there at 10pm on Monday night. An engineer said they put sandbags down but water runs past the sandbags then freezes. People have complained about this for two months.”
Traffic was diverted onto narrow local lanes and the A22 and Uckfield High Street were gridlocked.
Residents were not surprised. Vivienne Blandford, Buxted Parish Council chair, said: “Our clerk emailed County to report this flooded road two weeks ago. I drove home on Thursday at about 8pm and discovered there’d been an accident and two cars were on their roofs. There is at least one metal drain cover with water issuing from it in the road. I would like to point out to Highways that it is not our job to stand in the A272 to find out to whom the drain might belong. I have just sent an urgent email to County this morning.”
Vivienne has an 1888 map showing how a stream used to run across the road. She added: “With the water table being so high, this ‘forgotten stream’ may be the cause of the problem here.”
District councillor Michael Lunn said he believes the road could have partially collapsed due to the leak and the A272 closed for up to two days. “This is causing major problems. I am concerned that residents have been reporting this leak to ESCC for weeks but there’s been no action. It has taken five car accidents to occur before anything is done.”
A police spokesman said: “Traffic lights are on the A272 at Buxted due to ice and accidents. We were called shortly before 8pm on Monday after two cars crashed off the A272. Officers found black ice caused by water running across the road from a drain cover. The road was closed while highways staff and South East Water workers visited to make it safe.”