Aylesbury - a town stuck in gridlock as closures lead to one-hour delays in town centre
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Traffic is coming to a near standstill in Aylesbury at rush hour times due to roadworks around town and residents are demanding answers as to why the road network is being so badly managed.
Furious motorists have been left gridlocked, with roadworks and diversion routes overwhelming the flow of traffic in Aylesbury.
The closure of Bicester Road has caused a backlog of traffic using alternative routes which has led to major delays throughout town.
This morning (14 September) it took drivers up to an hour just to complete two miles' worth of travel around town at peak hours.
Mainly the issues have stemmed from the closure of Bicester Road, surface works readying the new Sainsbury's Mega Store has caused aggravation.
The council says the work connecting the superstore ahead of its opening date couldn't have been scheduled for any other time.
The council responded to criticism around the timing of the works and the effect it had on traffic in Central Aylesbury on Friday (10 September).
Much of the criticism levelled at the council related to the fact the closure at the start of the month coincided with the beginning of the school year.
Councillor Steven Broadbent said: "I apologise for any disruption caused by these essential road works in Aylesbury.
"Unfortunately, the works associated with the closure of part of Bicester Road couldn't take place during the school holidays due to other works needing to be completed before this one could go ahead."
The mega store on Sainsbury's is currently being built, this massive new supermarket will occupy 50,000 square feet, with a major car park also being prepared.
Speaking in the spring a spokesperson for the supermarket said it is hoped that the new store, which the chain says will create 150 jobs, will open at the end of the year.
Bicester Road is scheduled to be closed while sewage work is completed at the site of the new massive retail chain.
The council has given the following description of the work being completed: "New foul sewer connection from new Sainsbury Store onto existing foul sewer on Bicester Road, plus a new pedestrian tiger crossing. Depth of excavation Circa 3.5m, which requires full road closure for H & S reasons. Unable to open & close in one operation as existing service is in the centre of the road."
One worker helping connect the sewer to the new store said, the connection will be completed today, then filled and finished, meaning the road can reopen on Friday (17 September).
Currently the roadworks on Bicester Road are scheduled to finish next Monday on 20 September.
Councillor Broadbent added: “Unfortunately, Bicester Road will need to remain closed until Monday due to the need for specialist equipment to be brought in to complete this part of the excavation work, as a result of unforeseen engineering difficulties found when undertaking the emergency sewer repair. Road works of any nature will sometimes cause disruption to local traffic which cannot always be avoided. We continue to work closely with contractors to keep this disruption to a minimum where at all possible. ”
One Twitter user criticised this diversion saying, "How long is this work going on for? Isn’t it work evolved from new Sainsbury’s so why could it not have been done during holidays.Took 45 [minutes] from [Bierton] road to Gatehouse on Monday nothing indicating road closure only at roundabout junction."
Another asked the council for answers stating the delays mean children from miles away are turning up late for in-person education. The Tweet read: "The Bicester Rd closure in Central Aylesbury is impacting on school children from villages as far away as Chearsley, Haddenham and Longwick, where timed school buses are delivering children late to Princes Risborough. How much longer will this impact on them?"
Other maintenance work on Aylesbury roads has also extended travel times and disrupted plans throughout other parts of town.
A spokesperson from Red Eagles Buses sent the Tweet yesterday: "Severe congestion on A41 Tring Road in #Aylesbury due to roadworks. Services 61 and 62 operating behind schedule as a consequence. Please refer to the myTrip app to track your service location."
Lane closures to accommodate what the council describes as 'essential' work is forecast on the A41 until 29 October. GTC has also authorised a lane closure on Aylesbury Road by Aston Clinton, a temporary speed limit is also in place to slow traffic coming into Central Aylesbury.
Editor's note: this article was updated at 9:10am with a response from Bucks Council.