Chorley roadworks chaos 'could have been avoided with better planning', councillor claims

A Lancashire county councillor says highways bosses should listen to local representatives like him when planning roadworks – if they want to avoid unnecessary disruption for motorists.

By Paul Faulkner
Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 9:50 pm

Mark Clifford was speaking after hold-ups caused by gas works in his Clayton with Whittle division turned to total gridlock when County Hall closed a road in nearby Buckshaw Village for pothole repairs.

Vehicles diverted by the closure last week of Central Drive were diverted along Dawson Lane and pitched out onto the A6 Preston Road – just at the point where temporary traffic lights were already leading to long queues.

The seven-day diversion – which was lifted on Monday – had a knock-on effect on Dawson Lane itself, because re-routed drivers were delayed when trying to turn out onto the main road.

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Gas main works on the A6 Preston Road have been causing queues for weeks (image: Kelvin Stuttard)

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One local took to Facebook to post a video showing tailbacks all the way back to the Green Man statue, while others bemoaned how they had been made late for appointments or had their businesses disrupted.

County Cllr Clifford said that he had written to the county council at the end of January calling for the resurfacing work to be delayed so that it did not coincide with the longstanding gas pipe upgrade – but was told last week that his email could not be found.

Councillors get seven days’ notice of works like this before temporary traffic regulation orders are published, but it can take 10 working days for us to get a reply.

When Central Avenue in Buckshaw Village was closed for pothole repairs, drivers was diverted...

“I knew the problems these works would cause, because Preston Road was already gridlocked.

“So many residents have been late this week for vital appointments and meetings. Residents are right to be angry at this chaos,” said County Cllr Clifford.

While he stressed that he was not blaming highways officers for the situation, he claimed that the department was not sufficiently staffed to process the local knowledge being provided by members.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “There is a large volume of planned work taking place on Lancashire’s roads at any one time – and we work closely with utility companies to co-ordinate any work they need to carry out with activities being planned by our own teams.

... along Dawson Lane, which was brought to a standstill (image: Peter Love)...

“Our aim is to manage work taking place across the network to limit the impact on traffic in any one area and, while some disruption is inevitable due to roadworks, we work hard to minimise this as far as possible.

“We have received some feedback about recent work taking place in the Buckshaw Village area and will be reviewing how this was programmed.”

...because traffic was trapped by the temporary lights on Preston Road.