CALLS have been made for greater communication between highways bosses and parish councils after traffic chaos engulfed parts of East Staffordshire following the closure of a stretch of the A38.
Ed Sharkey, vice-chairman of Barton under Needwood Parish Council, made the plea to the Highways Agency and Staffordshire County Council after the village was besieged by thousands of vehicles when repairs to a burst water main near the B5016 Barton Turns junction saw the northbound carriageway closed on Wednesday afternoon until today.
Mr Sharkey is campaigning to be included in a meeting between the agency and the authority about diversion routes and procedures when the A38 is affected by closures to make sure the full impact on local residents is recognised.
He said: “I think when something major happens, like the burst water main, everyone understands that there will be some disruption.
“The problem we have is that there is little or no communication with people in the affected areas.
“There have been thousands of cars and HGVs bounding though Barton on routes which are not designed for that amount of traffic. The diversion plans for when there is an accident on the A38 really need revising. If people get more information, and better diversion routes are in place, they will perhaps not mind the disruption as much.
“This is why I have asked if parish councils from across East Staffordshire can go to the planned meeting between the Highways Agency and Staffordshire County Council to discuss the impact of these closures on people’s lives — and for them to hear our suggestions on how they might do things better.”
Mr Sharkey said the situation had become so bad in the village that lorry drivers had been mounting the kerbs outside schools — putting the lives of young children and their parents at risk.
The northbound stretch of the A38 was closed on Wednesday and, although engineers had repaired the bust water main by Thursday, the road had to remain closed until today while road construction works and resurfacing was completed.
A spokesman for South Staffordshire Water said: “We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused, to both customers and motorists, and thank everyone for their patience while we made repairs.”