Drivers are facing at least another week of delays on a main route into Fylde because of over-running roadworks.
But Lancashire County Council highways officials have come in for praise from local civic leaders for doing all they can to minimise congestion after the works caused chaos when they started on Clifton Drive North last month.
Then, with three-way traffic lights in operation at the junction with Highbury Road, furious motorists were reporting rush hour delays of anything up to 45 minutes, with major knock-on effects on Queensway, the only other direct route into St Annes from Blackpool.
The lengthy tailbacks prompted the County Council to hastily suspend the drainage work and reschedule it for last week’s half-term break, when local roads were a lot quieter.
Ground conditions, however, mean the work has over-run and workmen are now expected to be on site until the end of next week.
In a bid to ease congestion, Highbury Road has been closed westbound, meaning the temporary traffic lights at the site of the works are only two-way and St Annes town mayor Cheryl Little has praised the County Council for doing their best to ease congestion.
“Those signs going up to say the works are on always fill drivers with dread and there were lots of problems last time with the three-way lights,” she said.
“But all credit to the County Council for finding a way to try and keep queues to a minimum.
“This work obviously needs doing and the way past the site certainly smoother than it was before.”
Fylde deputy mayor Coun Angela Jacques, whose St Leonards ward covers the site of the works, said: “I use Clifton Drive a lot and I have got through without too much problem, at different times of the day.
“I have not heard of any complaints this time, either and of course, with ground conditions a factor, it is important that the work is done properly to prevent problems later.”
One motorist who travels daily between St Annes and Blackpool said: “It’s frustrating that Highbury Road is unavailable as a route towards Blackpool and I have had to find other routes but I suppose it being closed helps to cut down on the congestion on Clifton Drive.
“I have still seen tailbacks to Starr Gate one way and St Leonard’s Road the other at peak times but setting off a few minutes earlier or leaving the office a little later can make a big difference.”
Bev Wood, chairman of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership, said: “Clearly, the work is essential but as much early notification as possible of additional repairs such as these helps ensure St Annes businesses, tourists and the community are not unduly affected.”
Lancashire County Council have thanked drivers for their patience and have stressed everything possible is being done to minimise disruption.
The County Council’s area highways manager Harvey Danson said: “Highways engineers are working to repair a problem with drainage which causes residents’ gardens to flood, and had hoped to complete the work during the local half term break last week to minimise disruption to people’s journeys.
“However wet sandy ground is making excavations difficult, and the work is taking longer than had been expected. It will take up to two weeks longer to get it finished.
“In the meantime I would ask people to leave more time for their journeys in this area and thank them for their patience which we complete these essential repairs.
“We’re aware of the potential for disruption caused by the need to work in such a busy area, and will be doing all we reasonably can to keep it to a minimum.”