Drivers faced traffic chaos as the launch of the final stage of a sewer repair project saw Lancaster and Morecambe grind to a halt.
United Utilities were making urgent changes to traffic management after drivers’ misery reached a peak on Monday morning rush hour.
Closure of part of Lancaster’s one way system saw queues stretching from Junction 34 off the M6 through to Lancaster, up to Northgate, Morecambe and through to Heysham.
Road works on the Heysham to M6 Link road also added to the heavy flow of traffic. However the roads appeared less chaotic on Tuesday as traffic calming measures were introduced to help ease congestion.
Part of Lancaster’s one-way system is closed for approximately two months. United Utilities said the £18 million project will enhance the city’s sewer system in order to reduce river pollution, protecting the River Lune.
But the queues at the start of the week caused several drivers to be late during their commute to work and on the school run.
Shrimpy commented online: “My son was up at 6.30am to catch an earlier bus at 7.30am to get from Bolton-le-Sands to Lancaster, so he’d get to school on time. He was still late to school. What time do these fools expect kids to get up?”
@mwainy tweeted: “May as well just shut all roads in and around Lancaster and Morecambe until all works done #greatplanning.”
The junction where North Road meets the A6 Rosemary Lane is being closed during the project.
Traffic heading into Lancaster from Morecambe and traffic along Caton Road is also being diverted along Bulk Road and St Leonardgate.
Some bus services have been relocated from the bus station to Dalton Square and Common Garden Street along with temporary timetable changes.
United Utilities Project Manager, Dawn Harrington, said: “We know lane closures and road works are never welcome, but overhauling a sewer network in such a compact location as Lancaster City Centre is very challenging.
“There is simply no way of doing this work without putting these changes in place. We always envisaged the first day of the temporary traffic changes would cause commuters the biggest headache.”
“We’ve been monitoring the situation closely and are going to make a few adjustments. For example we’re currently changing the frequency on the temporary traffic lights to allow more cars through, which will hopefully ease the impact.
“Our aim is to have all our work finished by November. Our team on site is currently working from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday.
“We will continue to review our work schedule and when the opportunity allows we will look to either work weekends or extended hours.”
County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport said: “I was particularly aware of the problem as I had a meeting in Morecambe at 9.30am on Monday.
“We’re advising people to allow more travel time and, if possible, to avoid travelling into Lancaster at peak times, although I know that is easier said than done.”
If you have any further questions about the work, you can call United Utilities on 0345 672 3723, quoting project number 80022307.
Sim Lane-Dixon, Lancashire County Council’s highways manager for Lancaster, said on Tuesday:“This morning we noticed an improvement in the level of traffic compared to yesterday.”
“This is United Utilities’ work, but we will continue to work with them and the police to monitor the situation.