Gridlock set to last for a MONTH
TOWN centre traffic chaos is set to continue for a MONTH as highways work is carried out.
Diversions in Rawtenstall are in place while Lancashire County Council carries out work on Bocholt Way between Tesco and the Queen’s Square Roundabout to widen the road. The footpath has also been closed off during the course of the work, scheduled to run until November 20.
Lancashire County Council (LCC) has apologised for the disruption and say they are working to ‘minimise inconvenience’. Meanwhile Rossendale council has called for action after accusing highways chiefs of “bad planning” of the works.
Leader Alyson Barnes said: “Quite a few residents have been in contact with myself and fellow councillors about the gridlock in Rawtenstall town centre – and it was especially bad on Sunday.
“This has been caused by roadworks at both Bocholt Way and Newchurch Road taking place ●● Part of Bocholt Way has been closed in one direction as part of the works at the same time. Lancashire County Council is responsible for highways and we have been raising the issue with them.”
She added: “We are disappointed with the bad planning on the county council’s part meaning that both roadworks are being done at the same time, causing unnecessary disruption and big delays in the town centre.
“I have already written to highways and the leader of the county coun- cil and the council will continue to raise the issue to see if anything can be done.”
Karl Mather, who owns the Mather Gallery at the junction of Bury Road and Bocholt Way, said he had already noticed a decline in trade since the works began on October 16.
He said: “I am actually having a lot of trouble.
“Hardly anybody has been coming in. They have cut the footpath off, and it’s cut me off. The passing trade has gone.
“It’s really bad and I have not had any information at all about it. With all the works that are going on, it’s as if they are trying to cut Rawtenstall off in all directions. And lasting until the end of November, that’s most of our Christmas period gone.”
Dad-of-one Phil Harris, from Helmshore, travels regularly into Rawtenstall to shop and says his journey time has more than doubled since changes to the traffic light sequence were introduced in May, and the addition of the roadworks means he is now avoiding the town.
Phil, 35, said: “It’s got the point now where I’m going to different towns.
“I fear total collapse because people are just avoiding it. It’s absolutely horrific now.
“First the traffic lights, and now closing Bocholt Way and works on Newchurch Road have made into total gridlock.”