COMMUTERS today described being stuck in long delays on the road because of a £1bn investment into rail travel in the North West.
Drivers were waiting up to 25 minutes between Poulton and Carleton during rush hour as work started on replacing the railway bridge on Tithebarn Street effectively cutting off one route through Wyre.
The work is necessary before the train line can be electrified between Manchester and Blackpool – part of Network Rail’s £1bn investment in infrastructure to meet higher demand.
A diversion sends traffic into Carleton on Blackpool Road, where three-way traffic lights control the road’s junction with Blackpool Old Road, near to Carleton Crossing.
And on the first day of the closure, driver Eric Seville told The Gazette his morning commute had been “pretty horrendous”.
He added: “I live in Poulton, and have had to drop the children off at school, go to Thornton and now I’m on my way into Blackpool.
“It’s 9.30am and I am not in work yet. I’m definitely running late.”
Mr Seville, 50, of Moorland Road, said the trouble was queuing traffic not letting vehicles out of side roads onto the main road.
Also stuck in the queues, Alan Hollingworth, of Edgeway Place Thornton, agreed the morning traffic had been a lot worse than normal.
The 70-year-old said: “It’s awful. It’s just taken me 25 minutes to get from Thornton.
“Next time I’m going to use Devonshire Road.”
Kim Wilson, manager at Kim Harrison Hair Design on Blackpool Road, said the morning build up caused delays for everyone.
She goes into work from Fleetwood, and said her journey took 40 minutes.
She said: “These works started this week, and it’s going to be a nightmare for us. We’re going to be calling our clients to let them know to expect delays.”
But Mark Wood, of Church Road, Singleton, said his journey had been fine.
Mr Wood, 40, said: “It’s always quite busy here because of the railway line. The extra roadworks doesn’t help, but these trains can be a long time coming.”
Children and staff also had trouble getting into Carleton’s St Hilda’s Primary School.
A spokesman added: “As with any roadworks and disruption to traffic, we understand they do bring problems.
“There is a pressing need for the bridge to be repaired and for the work to be done. We understand and will bear with the problems brought with it.”
The replacement of the Tithebarn Street bridge and the electrification of the railway line is part of a £400m programme to enable electric operation of rail services between Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool by December 2016.