Council ask for patience over traffic chaos

Traffic chaos at the junction of Central Drive and Albert Road in Blackpool
Traffic chaos at the junction of Central Drive and Albert Road in Blackpool
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COUNCIL bosses today appealed for ‘patience’ and not road rage as Blackpool town centre was brought to a standstill by more roadworks.

Calls were made for major rethink after further Promenade closures saw gridlock along Central Drive and Albert Road.

Cars queued bumper-to-bumper from 8am yesterday as between Adelaide Street West and Talbot Square was closed.

Restrictions have been put in place so work on the new Tower Headlands can be completed in time for summer.

Many businesses fear delays will send shoppers flocking to Preston and called on Blackpool Council to take action. Council leader Peter Callow today asked for understanding.

He said: “People have to remember the work on the Promenade and tramway are two of the most major civil engineering projects since Blackpool Tower was built.

“But things are really starting to take shape and the town will be so much better when it’s finished. Please continue being patient.”

Traders though remain unimpressed by more diversions and delays.

Dave Daly, landlord of the Castle Pub on Central Drive, said: “The bottle neck on Central Drive is unbelievable.

“Traffic is queued right from the Promenade up Albert Road. Something is obviously not working. I fear if people end up stuck in traffic they won’t bother coming back or go to Preston instead.”

Hoteliers repeated calls for more routes to be opened to provide alternatives.

Julie Scholey, manager of the Georgian Hollies Hotel, Albert Road, added: “The traffic is a nightmare – it’s been bumper-to-bumper.

“With buses getting diverted down here too it’s just been pure chaos.

“People are getting irate and I’ve already seen a few near misses. I dread to think how visitors will cope. It seriously needs looking at.”

The closure is expected to last until June 17 – including over the busy Easter break.

A spokeswoman for the nearby La Tour Hotel added: “I just hope the situation is better by Easter and local drivers find other routes to clear the way.”

Bill Lewtas, secretary of Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association, said: “It was very busy on Albert Road leading on to Cookson Street and the traffic was backing up, but elsewhere it was not too bad. It’s early days yet.”

Dee Grant, director of C Cabs added: “It’s ridiculous but what can you do. They (the council) are not going to change anything. We’re going to have to put up with it.”

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “The first day is always the worst as people have failed to plan or underestimated the level of extra traffic on the road.

“Hopefully in the next few days people will adjust their travel arrangements to allow more time or use alternative routes.”

Mr Daly said the council should go further to help.

He said: “They should be putting in free parking to help the traders as they are going to take a huge hit.”