COUNCIL bosses have hit back over claims that controversial town centre roadworks could have been scheduled better – blaming ‘severe weather conditions’.
Motorists flooded the Mail’s website to leave comments after the town was gridlocked due to rolling road closures as part of carriageway improvement work near the Three Queens Hotel.
Many asked why the work could not have been started during the recent school holidays.
Paul Boss, of the council’s highways team, said: “We began improvement work in Wetmore Road and Bridge Street on April 2, at the beginning of the school holidays, to minimise disruption to motorists.
“We had intended to carry out the work sooner, so work would be completed before schools returned, but severe weather conditions didn’t allow this to happen.
“Advance notice road signs were clearly displayed before the work started, warning of possible delays, and we also met with local businesses to discuss the impact the work may have.
“A number of diversions are in place and we’re encouraging motorists to use these to help ease traffic flow.
“We realise there are disruptions and would ask people to bear with us so that we can complete the work as quickly as possible.”
The authority also allayed fears that Burton Bridge would be closing for work due to end on May 3.
A spokesman told the Mail: “The bridge will not be closed, although access will be restricted.”
Fears had also been raised that the work – which saw people sat in traffic for hours on Wednesday – would impact on trading in the town.
Town centre manager Paul Howard said: “We have not seen any impact on footfall yet.
“I personally think that we will see a drop in football, but not in trade.
People will be making one trip to the town rather than two or three.”