Traffic on one of Harrogate’s busiest roads has all but ground to a halt this week as contractors working on the new M&S food store on Leeds Road dig up the junction.
Buses have been cancelled and frustrated motorists have complained that travelling less that one and a half miles from Pannal to the Leeds Road junction with Hookstone Road is taking almost an hour.
“This is quite intolerable. It is chaos, traffic is at a stand still. It is having an impact on business, on buses, taxi firms, delivery vehicles,” said Brian Dunsby, chief executive of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
“I am going to write to the County Council about this, they need to change the sequence of the lights. The current way is halving the capacity at the junction.
“On Tuesday I travelled through the junction six times and at one point it took 15 minutes from the top of Almsford Bank to the traffic lights.”
Transdev buses, which runs the popular 36 service from Harrogate to Leeds were forced to cancel a service on Tuesday as it was so delayed.
Paul Hodgson, marketing manager said: “We know people aren’t happy but think most people are being understanding of the issue.”
He added that the company have had to hire an additional driver to make sure the drivers can take their breaks. He said: “It is actually costing us money now.”
Craig Temple from Connexions buses said his firm only have one bus route using the road, the X52/53, which has been delayed by up to 25 minutes.
He said: “We have to put up with it, the alternative routes aren’t suitable for buses.”
St James Securities construction director Dan Murray said: “We understand the frustration experienced by drivers and other road users but we have worked very hard with North Yorkshire County Council’s Highways Department to find a way to carry out the necessary works as quickly and safely as possible.
“This co-operation between our contractors and the Highways Department is on-going and engineers have been making changes to traffic light sequencing to help to ease the congestion.
“The roadworks are due to take around 12 weeks, with a number of different phases involving alterations to the road layout several times during that period.
“We realise this is far from ideal and apologise to all those affected but the works are required by the County Council as part of the redevelopment of the site and are being co-ordinated with other road works planned ahead of July’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France.”