'˜Ill-timed lights made commute exasperating': Rush hour rage across Blackpool due to road closures and roadworks

Gazette reporter Michael Holmes and deputy communities content editor Julia Bennett both got caught up in the rush hour traffic yesterday.

Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 10:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 12:29 pm
Traffic on  Warbreck Hill Road in North Shore
Traffic on Warbreck Hill Road in North Shore

- Julia Bennett writes, my usual 20-minute commute along the Promenade to The Gazette office took close on an hour yesterday.

With Talbot Square shut, East Park Drive - past Stanley Park - seemed the most obvious alternative route to get from north to south Blackpool at 7.40am.

But that’s what everyone else thought too.

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Traffic on Warbreck Hill Road in North Shore

Traffic was backed up to Moor Park Health Centre on Bispham Road and the queue was building at the Rock Gardens on Devonshire Road.

I’m all for ‘Making Blackpool Better’, but if the main arterial route across Blackpool isn’t open then ill-timed temporary traffic lights on Devonshire Road make the situation exasperating.

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- Michael Holmes writes, after being stuck in traffic trying to get home on Monday evening, I knew to avoid Devonshire Road as I travelled to work yesterday morning.

But, with cars backed up the entire length of Warbreck Hill Road, coming over Crossley’s Bridge and past Stanley Park didn’t seem a decent option either.

The Prom? Nope. Shut until January.

So begrudgingly, and with an anxious eye on the clock, I rolled ever-so-slowly along Devonshire Road.

Schoolchildren, dog walkers, and those intelligent enough to realise they would be faster on foot all overtook me and marched off into the distance.

After finally making it through the lights, driving at 30mph but feeling like it was 75mph, I made haste for work - only to grind to a halt amid roadworks at the junction of St Annes Road and Squires Gate Lane in South Shore.

Ballam Road. Yeadon Way. They’re also shut.

This is the second time this year temporary lights have gone up under the Devonshire Road railway bridge, only to be ordered down again shortly after.

Did the chaos the first time, which was not compounded by a closure of the Promenade as it was this time, give nobody pause to think before doing it again?

I have no doubt this work needs to be done. I realise tourism keeps Blackpool alive and residents must put up with out-of-season inconvenience to benefit from the hundreds of millions spent by visitors here every year.

But this was avoidable.

Network Rail should have been told to wait.

Motorists took to social media yesterday to voice their concerns at the traffic mayhem'‹

Jane Sharratt said:

“The traffic congestion situation is untenable.

“I left my house at 7.30am for what would be a 15 minute journey.

"An hour later I am still only half way there.

"The strain on the residents of Blackpool is a disgrace.”

Colin Collins said:

“This is without doubt the worst traffic I have ever experienced outside of London.

"When do we ever have no major works going on?

"75 per cent of the time at least one major route is blocked, jamming up all the alternative routes.”

Linda Wood added:

“Its a disgrace – an 11 mile (journey) took me 90 minutes, 60 mins of that was just on Devonshire Road.

"Just a joke and fed up with it all.”

However not everyone was affected by the traffic jams

Anne Marie Hulme said:

“I took the tram from Little Bispham to town and back, £1 each way for Purple Tuesday.

“Totally stress free and cheaper than parking the car.”

A Network Rail spokesman said:

“We have been using Devonshire Road as an access point to remove material from our compound as part of ongoing building work nearby.

“We’ve been working closely with Blackpool Council to minimise disruption while the work is carried out, with a traffic management plan in place.

“Work will pause on Wednesday November 14 but will resume on Thursday 15 and Friday 16.

“To keep delays to a minimum, traffic management will be back in place from 10am, to avoid the morning rush-hour.

"The removal of the material is expected to be complete by the end of the week and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”