Construction of new Waitrose causes tailbacks in Swindon
BUMPER to bumper traffic has been causing a headache for commuters in Old Town as road closures have caused long tailbacks during rush hour.
Queues have been stretching back along County Road, Kingshill Road and Croft Road as cars are being diverted around the construction works, which began on December 2.
Mill Lane and Foxham Way have been closed to traffic to make way for highways construction work ahead of the new Waitrose store being built at the Wichelstowe development.
Until now, the council has kept Foxham Way open while only Mill Lane was closed, but essential work must now be undertaken on both roads until the middle of January.
And the council has apologised for not giving advance notice to commuters of the road closures, which is usually done with visible road signs. While not compulsory for the council, it is common practice.
Workers will break during the Christmas period, when the road will reopen with a temporary set of traffic lights.
Keith Williams, cabinet member for highways, strategic transport and leisure, said: “This is essential work for Waitrose to open. We are working as fast as we can, and people are working on Saturdays to get it completed.
“Unfortunately we have to hold our hands up on this one. We were given late notice of the length of the work, so we did not have time to put the signs up that we would normally do to give people advance warning.
“Some people have asked if we could keep one lane open, but that would cause an internal weakness in the road surface when it is built.”
Coun Nadine Watts, (Lab, Old Town), said: “It is disappointing that the council failed to give motorists who use Foxham Way advance notice of this road closure.
“I can absolutely understand the frustrations that motorists and local residents in Old Town will have with short-term increased traffic pressures on Croft Road and Kingshill Road.
“The Highways Department have tried to keep Foxham Way open for as long as possible.
“What I would say is that once the roadworks are completed, I think people will agree that it will be worth it, as we will be closer to getting a fantastic new Waitrose store for Swindon.
“I know a lot of local residents are excited about this and it will be particularly beneficial to Wichelstowe residents who will have new jobs and a new supermarket on their doorstep.”
A spokesman for Swindon Council said: “A new roundabout is being built at the junction of Mill Lane and Foxham Way as part of the work to deliver the new Waitrose supermarket, which has meant the road has had to be closed for safety reasons.
“The work will go on until the middle of January next year, although the road will re-open over the Christmas period with traffic controlled by temporary lights from 5pm on December 20. It will be closed again from 10am on January 2.
“We normally like to give advance notice of road closures with signs along the route, but we didn’t on this occasion, for which we apologise.”
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