Who planned roadworks at half-term? And why are they not better co-ordinated?
These are the questions Spalding Guardian readers are asking after the town and other parts of the district became gridlocked this week.
Ongoing works by Lincolnshire County Council, the National Grid and Anglia Water, and the closures of railway crossings, have all contributed to driving holiday week motorists crazy.
But the most frustrating stories have come from residents going about their daily routine and just trying to be good relatives and neighbours. Sharon Louise Peters-Sharry said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous – it took me 28 minutes to get across town to get to my elderly nan this afternoon.
“We only live opposite ends of town and I have to go most days. I could have walked quicker, but she wanted picking up and bringing back to mine for some company. I hope she doesn’t need me in a hurry in the,next week or so.”
Denise Vickers said: “I brought my elderly neighbour into town this morning as the bus was too unreliable for her to wait. She had been dropped off the day before on Woolram Wygate (with a fair walk) with claims that the bus couldn’t get down Claudette Avenue on Wygate Park because of the roadworks.”
Motorists were especially frustrated yesterday at the Woolram Wygate crossing. Suzie Wells said: “I was sitting at Wygate crossing for ages. The gates finally opened, but no train had been past. There was a police car sat waiting with blues on, too.”
Kerry Peacock said: “What cracks me up is that they have these roadworks going on with traffic control and yet no matter what time of day you drive past these areas nobody is working.”
The nightmare comes after a special meeting of Spalding Town Forum, who called on Jonathan Wickham, leader of Lincolnshire County Council’s transport strategy, to get our roads sorted now. This already has backing from MP John Hayes, as reported in Tuesday’s Free Press.
Reader Alan Cole said: “Traffic management in Spalding is disgraceful, it clearly does not exist. Why not? OK – we have half-term, Network Rail and road repairs all going on at the same time. But none of it is co-ordinated.
“It is not rocket science to sit down and discuss with the utility companies what they wish to do and when and then, from that information, go for the least disruptive.”
Maxine Stutkins, senior highways officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We go to huge efforts to minimise potential disruption but, inevitably, there will always be some and we do regret and understand the frustration this causes. Scheduling the work is a delicate balance between a number of variables. These roadworks have been planned to take advantage of the school break, when there are fewer vehicles on the road, and to get the work done before the bad weather hits.
“The best advice we can give is to carefully plan your journey and take note of the advance-warning signs around the town. And we’d like to assure people that the county council roadworks are essential to a ensuring a comfortable and safe drive this winter.”