Traffic chaos caused by Redbourn Road works
- Credit: Archant
Motorists have faced miles of queues caused by major roadworks on a route into the city centre.
Affinity Water are carrying out roadworks on the southbound Redbourn Road for 10 weeks, leading to huge disruption on surrounding routes.
The works, which involve laying a new water main, started on Monday and are expected to last until November 21.
Traffic has been queuing into the city centre along the Harpenden Road and A4147 Hemel Hempstead Road over the last few days.
In a statement, Affinity Water said: "The installation of the new water main will require a rolling road closure of Redbourn Road in approximately 200m sections. The works will start at the Batchwood roundabout and be completed close to the crossing of the River Ver near Shafford Cottages.
"We know that road works can be inconvenient, and we would like to apologise for any disruption this may cause. Please be assured that this work is essential, and we’ll do our best to keep any disruption to a minimum."
The company has been condemned for its lack of communication by St Albans MP Daisy Cooper and council leader Chris White.
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Cllr White said: "I have been tackling Affinity now for some months about their cavalier attitude to road works: signage and advance warning has been especially poor and there can be no excuse for that, especially for planned works.
"The amount of detail offered to councillors and others about these works has been very limited. I challenged them on that a week or so ago, only to get the same vague statements.
"Last Friday Daisy and I challenged them again. Lots of apologies but more concentration on the benefit of the works (of which there is no doubt) rather than the way in which on past experience they were likely to be executed.
"People in the district and further afield are already badly affected. There has already been one road accident that I know of. The situation will only get worse as the works approach St Albans city.
"Their website needs to provide details of the work being done and the dates of the phases - not just 'expected to last 12 weeks'. They need to work with the traffic authority (the county council) to mitigate the impact. They need to provide proper signage which is legible and usable."
County councillor Annie Brewster added: “We have invited officials from Affinity Water to attend our scheduled overview and scrutiny committee meeting tonight as an AOB item.
"Councillors are keen to learn why these extensive works were not shared with ward members early enough to try and work together to mitigate some of the very serious disruption they are causing on the roads.
"The diversion routes are creating extensive congestion, particularly, in the mornings and there are reports of some motorists attempting to drive the wrong way down the closed traffic lane on the A5183 Redbourn Road in an attempt to get to St Albans.
"The re-routed traffic is then converging with the displaced traffic from the experimental road closures already in operation in the city centre.”