The chairman of LB First, an independent traders’ group, is worried for businesses in Leighton Buzzard after the number of roadworks caused traffic chaos at the weekend.
Gennaro Borrelli, owner of A Touch Of Class in Bridge Street, has described the traffic at the weekend as “ridiculous” after a water mains burst in Lake Street on Friday, adding to ongoing BT and UK Power Networks roadworks and also multiple roadworks by Central Beds Council.
He said: “The burst water mains in Lake Street on Friday did make an already bad situation much worse in the town centre, it has been quite bad since the beginning of last week with the roadworks in South Street and Vandyke Road for the new development, and now the burst water main means more traffic and roadworks.
“There are lots of sets of temporary traffic lights throughout the town and it is causing a backlog of traffic, all the sets affect each other and there is so much traffic in the town, it is ridiculous.
“People are leaving the town and shopping elsewhere because it is easier than having to sit in traffic, there are even queues at the quiet times of the day.
“It is having a big impact on small businesses and it is very worrying, small businesses can not afford to have a quiet two or three weeks because of these roadworks, especially at an already quiet time of the year.
“The works by BT and UK Power Networks are essential for the new housing development but CBC Highways Department and the contractors should have planned it so the works were not all at the same time. The congestion caused by the roadworks and temporary traffic lights are making the town centre a no go area and it is very worrying for businesses and traders who work there.”
Angry drivers who were fed up with the traffic caused by the roadworks and temporary traffic lights complained about it on social media.
One user said: “Two sets of traffic lights from the top of Hockliffe Road to Morrison’s. Who’s clever planning was that!!”
Another person commented: “Great news, another set of road works with lights. This time on bypass near McDonald’s. Are they trying to set a record.”
A spokesman for Central Bedfordshire Council said: “There was a burst water main on Friday evening so we had to enforce an emergency closure with 4-way traffic lights. Anglian Water are leading on the works and they hope to be finished by today.
“There are some other minor utility works in the area with BT and UKPN working in and around the Leighton Buzzard area. All the works taking place are utility works which need to happen to help with the developments in the area.”
Central Bedfordshire Councillor Roy Johnstone said: “The town centre was chaos at the weekend, there were a number of problems that unfortunately added up to cause chaos.
“There was a major water leak, with a burst water main in the town centre which caused a lot of problems, temporary traffic lights were erected while the repairs were carried out. Add that to the power and water supply works that are being carried out for the new development, which will be going on for months, add to that the usual maintenance roadworks that the council has to do and it added to the gridlock we saw at the weekend.”
A list of the roadworks likely to cause delays according to roadworks.org:
>> A4012 Grovebury Road, delays likely until February 2.
>> A4012/A4146 Lake Street, delays likely until February 5.
>> A4012 Hockliffe Street, delays likely until January 31.
>> A4012 Billington Road, delays likely until February 2.
>> North Street, delays likely until February 2.
>> Bideford Green, delays likely until February 2.
>> A505,A4146 Leighton Buzzard Bypass, delays likely until January 31.
>> Greenhill, delays likely until April 7.
>> Heath Road, delays likely until February 7.
>> Plantation Road, delays likely until January 30.
>> Vandyke Road, delays likely until March 5.
>> South Street, delays likely until February 9.
>> A505/A4146, delays likely until January 31.
For more information visit: https://roadworks.org/.
What do you think about the traffic problems in Leighton Buzzard, email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.