Anger as rush hour gridlock hits resort with drivers facing long delays

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Rush hour rage swept across Blackpool yesterday as many commuters suffered severe delays due to numerous road closures and roadworks across the resort.

Town Hall bosses appealed for patience and said the problems should ease at the end of the week when controversial work on Devonshire Road is due to end.

Traffic on Dickson Road, Blackpool

Traffic on Dickson Road, Blackpool

Much of motorists’ anger has been directed at temporary traffic lights on the route, put up by Network Rail, caused long delays.

Matters have been made worse by existing closures on Yeadon Way, Talbot Road and part of the Promenade.

One resort taxi driver said he spent 25 minutes in stationary traffic trying to pick up a fare 200 yards down the road, while a bus driver told The Gazette services had been delayed by as much as an hour.

The traffic lights on Devonshire Road were put up to allow Network Rail to carry out clearance work – although Blackpool Council has now ordered the company to take them down.

Coun Fred Jackson, cabinet member for highways, said last night: “We do appreciate that the current roadworks are causing problems for motorists.

“We have spoken to the contractors at Devonshire Road and visited the site. As a result the temporary lights will be removed and only be used when absolutely necessary.

“This work is scheduled to be completed by Sunday. Hopefully this will help to reduce the congestion.”

Blackpool taxi driver Rafal Sekulski said the traffic problems were “ridiculous”.

He added: “It’s gridlock everywhere (in the town centre). You can’t move.

“It’s affecting business. If it carries on like this there will be a lot fewer taxi drivers working.

“Why should I waste my petrol just standing still? There’s no point being on the road for us if we can’t get anywhere.”

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And one bus driver, who asked not to be named, said: “The last couple of days have been an absolute nightmare. It’s just got worse.

“It doesn’t matter where you go –you can’t seem to get anywhere.

“People are waiting for buses to go to school and work. They are not turning up because they can’t move.

“I’ve been driving buses for 30 years and it’s just getting worse and worse.”

He added that he hoped removing the light on Devonshire Road would help ease the traffic problems but would not solve them entirely.

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Yeadon Way is closed until December 3 for essential repairs while parts of the town centre around Talbot Square will remain shut over Christmas as part of the work on extending the tramway.

Blackpool Transport reported “severe delays” on the number seven service yesterday.

Last night, a spokesman said: “Our teams are doing their best to keep buses running on time throughout the current phase of roadworks around the town.

“We’re working hard to minimise disruption and get customers where they need to be, but particularly during peak periods we are experiencing larger delays and would advise customers to allow extra time for their journey.”

Coun Jackson said the timing of the work on Devonshire Road was beyond the council’s control.

He added: “Unfortunately we have to allow Network Rail to clear their site and as the Promenade is closed for 13 weeks there is no easy time for this to happen.

“If it had happened any earlier if would have clashed with the Illuminations and the Talbot Road and Dickson Road closure.

“We know that any work on the roads causes disruption, such as the unforeseen collapsed sewer works on Dickson Road. However, we really do appreciate everyone’s patience.”