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Thousands of motorists spend hours on Gloucester's roads as works bring city to a halt

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

Traffic has been at a standstill in Gloucester this week

Comments (13)

Thousands of frustrated motorists spent hours on journeys that should have taken just minutes as Gloucester’s roads ground to a halt.

Roadworks on the M5 and the A40 combined to bring the city’s streets to a standstill at rush hour on Tuesday evening. And drivers are waiting with baited breath to see if the situation improves.

Almost every route in Gloucester’s inner and outer ring was backed up with vehicles in both directions because of bridge strengthening work on the M5 and BT Openreach’s essential repairs to get 190 customers in Highnam back online.

“The only thing I can compare it to was the floods of 2007 when there were queues of cars and nowhere to go,” said Charlotte Jarrett, who lives in Kingsholm and works in Nailsea near Bristol.

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Laura Woodbury-Smith, assistant manager at Parkers estate agency in Hucclecote, was trapped in a jam in the opposite direction.

“I was stuck on Bristol Road,” she said. “I was heading from Hucclecote to Quedgeley and it took ages. It was jammed both ways.”

Quedgeley parish councillor Julian Powell queued from Quedgeley to Maisemore on Monday and Tuesday night.

“It was not too bad on Monday but it was terrible on Tuesday,” he said.

While the bridge work at Upton St Leonards is planned in and is expected to take around a year, BT’s sudden intervention on the A40 and B4215 compounded delays.

The Highways Agency is strengthening the M5 bridge over the B4073 Painswick Road near Upton St Leonards. Motorway traffic is limited to two lanes at 50mph there.

The city was gridlocked from around 4pm to 7pm.

A BT Openreach spokesman apologised for the delays, but said it had no choice but to set up roadworks at the A40/B4215 junction on Tuesday.

Yesterday the work at that junction was complete and the work at the other end of the cable, opposite the Dog pub at Over was only taking place on the pavement.

Dave Sledge, delivery team leader for the Highways Agency, which is responsible for the motorway and the A40, said: “Yesterday, work by BT to restore telephone lines caused delays on the A40 and this had an impact on overall traffic congestion in the Gloucester area.

“This situation was compounded by an abnormal load, which broke down as it passed through the bridge works between junctions 11a and 12 on the M5.

“The bridge works have been planned very carefully in order to minimise overall disruption. Although the northbound carriageway is very busy in both the morning and evening peak hours, we do not expect this work to cause significant delays.”

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  • SELINA30  |  January 16 2014, 3:58PM

    Another Tory shambles.

  • tomvonforest  |  January 16 2014, 2:38PM

    I played that card to try and make people think about what kind of impact doing that non-essential work at that time of day had, because you probably don't have the imagination to understand that it does affect people. I feel sorry for you if you don't agree that having no phone line trumps being unable to get home at all - perhaps you need to re-evaluate what you consider to be disruptive to your cosy, ordered little lives.

  • RoadWombat  |  January 16 2014, 2:21PM

    GlosAnarchy is right. What would these people do in a real emergency? Expect everything to be done for them, I expect. One little disruption to their cosy, ordered little lives and they're thrown into a right old tizz. And , as usual, they'll play the "children/elderly/infirm" card to cover for their inability to cope with anything out of the norm.

  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 16 2014, 1:54PM

    I'm not sure of the exact location that they where doing work and what traffic management they put in place but a pound to a pinch of #### it was for the protection of their staff from idiot drivers, quite often traffic control is used to slow down traffic and reduce the risk of death to the workers. If a worker had been killed then the road would have been closed for hours, where would you have been then?

    |   -23
  • RWT1203  |  January 16 2014, 12:05PM

    When the roadworks starton the C&G roundabout, the Barnwood businesses are all going to have to be flexible about staff starting and finishing times. I.e 6am - 2pm, 7am - 3pm.

  • tomvonforest  |  January 16 2014, 11:13AM

    And just to note, I'm not talking about the M5 bridge road works, which still continue, and don't cause gridlock. I'm talking about BT Openrach doing work on the A40 at over.

  • tomvonforest  |  January 16 2014, 11:06AM

    I'm sorry, you completely miss my point. It was the timing of these works. The work should have started at 7 in the evening, not ended at that time. That would have given them time to complete the work without all that disruption. I can live without comms for a few hours, what I can't abide is being stuck in unmoving traffic for 2 hours with children/the elderly/the infirm all stuck with no way to go back or forward, no way to get home, and it could have been avoided if the works had been done at a different time. If I didn't have a phone line for a day, I could quite happily live with that. I think you need to re-evaluate your priorities in life, not me.

  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 16 2014, 11:03AM

    I'm surprised there hasn't been a story about the people who haven't had a phone service!

    |   -29
  • IsitJimKerr  |  January 16 2014, 11:02AM

    tomvonforest..............I think if you had been without comms for any period of time, you would want it repaired asap. As the bridge works are scheduled to take up to a year, I believe, are you suggesting that Highnam residents should wait till then? This is the price we pay for a modern way of life, either chill, or try living somewhere without these benefits!

  • tomvonforest  |  January 16 2014, 10:31AM

    I'm sorry, but Openreach restoring 190 residential telephone lines should not take precedence over thousands of people making it home. They say they had no choice but to do this at peak times. I don't believe that for a moment, and it shouldn't have been authorised. This work should've been performed after peak hours in the evening/overnight. What a nightmare.