With disgruntled commuters growing increasingly incensed at the temporary traffic lights off the roundabout at junction 13 of the M65, Lancashire County Council has apologised, admitting that the refurbishment scheme will still take another month to complete.
Work on the £1.5m project started in February last year.
It aims to create room to cope with increased traffic and promote economic growth in Pendle by facilitating access to developments such as Barrowford Business Park and Trough Laithe, as well as Nelson and Colne College and Nelson town centre.
In spite of the scheme’s regenerative ambitions, local businesses have complained that the sustained strain caused by traffic being controlled by haphazard temporary lights is not only wasting valuable time and costing them money, but could also lead to accidents.
Nick Whittaker, director of recruitment agency Pendle Personnel, said: “It’s now taking me and my staff several more hours to get into work each day and I am loosing valuable work time. [The council] have slowed things down even more with traffic lights that are not in sequence and there [could] be a major accident coming off the M65.”
In response to the issues caused by the roadworks, David Johnnie, area highways manager, said: “We started to use temporary signals on the roundabout at junction 13 on Monday to enable construction to start on the extra lanes as part of the Growth Corridor development, which aims to boost economic growth in the area. These signals are manually controlled on weekdays from 7am to 7pm.
“We’re aware of some disruption in the area but expect it to improve as the people controlling the signals get more familiar with the varying traffic flows.
“The signals will be in place for the next four weeks and the scheme itself will be substantially completed by the end of March. I’d like to apologise for any inconvenience and thank drivers for their patience during this period of the works.”
The statement added that priority has been allocated to the M65 eastbound slip road to minimise queuing on the M65, which would increase the chance of additional queueing and delays on the other arms of the roundabout and that, while not ideal, the temporary lights were not a reflection of how the permanent fixtures would operate once installed.
The statement continued: “Temporary signals do not have the same capabilities or capacity as the permanent signals we will install, which can adjust the signal timings to suit altering traffic demands during the day.
“While we know that introducing temporary signals has caused some disruption, we have no other option so that the work can be achieved. Fortunately we haven’t had to do this until now.”