MOTORISTS are dodging roadworks in Whitehill Way and dangerously rat running through residential roads in Freshbrook, putting schoolchildren at risk, a local parent has claimed.

Yesterday, Swindon Council closed Whitehill Way from its junction with Grange Drive to Hook Street in order to carry out essential resurfacing work and patching.

Despite an official diversion route along Great Western Way and Tewkesbury Way, motorists piling off the M4 at junction 16 are flooding Rowton Heath Way to get through to Shaw.

But the increased numbers of traffic bombing through Rowton Heath Way has left mum-of-three Rachael Aplin worried for the safety of her eldest daughter, Mollie-Mai.

Like many of her peers at Lydiard Park Academy, the 11-year-old has to cross the road to walk home after coming out from the underpass below Whitehill Way.

Usually it does not matter that there are no pedestrian crossings between the roundabouts at the junction of Rowton Heath Way and Worsely Road, and at Rowton Heath Way and Gainsborough Way, but Rachael says the increased traffic flow puts children at serious risk of danger.

The 32-year-old nursing auxilliary at Great Western Hospital said: “I was driving back from work and I have never seen the traffic so bad along Rowton Heath Way at that time of day before. During rush hour it is going to be terrible.

“There aren’t any crossings for the children to use and it is just dangerous. There aren’t any traffic lights or anything.

“You know what teenagers are like they won’t look or anything and they have no patience – there could be an accident.”

It is not just the secondary school students who may be at risk. Millbrook Primary School allow Year 5 and Year 6 pupils to walk home provided their parents have given permission.

Kevin Burchall, a spokesman for Swindon Council, said: “Signs have been up for several weeks warning motorists of the resurfacing works along Whitehill Way.

“The signs for the third and final phase of works clearly advise motorists to use Great Western Way as a means of bypassing the road closure so we are therefore disappointed some drivers who know the local road network are ignoring the signs and using Rowton Heath Way.

“We appreciate this is inconvenient to local residents, but if we were to restrict access to Rowton Heath Way we would need to do the same with other roads in Freshbrook and that is not a practical solution.

“So we would like to take this opportunity to remind drivers of the need to use the planned diversion route to minimise the impact on the local community.”

The works are to be in place until tomorrow between 8am and 6pm.