CONGESTION in gridlocked Doncaster has been dubbed the worst in memory after roadworks combined to create a drivers' hell.
The borough's roads have been reduced to a crawl after three separate major roadworks sprang up.
And those who have managed to get out of the town centre have then hit more jams at the end of White Rose Way, as they meet the roadworks on the M18.
Doncaster councillor and taxi driver, Cliff Hampson, said: "It takes me one hour 10 minutes to do a 20 minute journey.
"It is bedlam. I rang up the council and asked if there was any reason why all those roadworks are being done now. I don't known why they couldn't have done them during the school summer holidays when the town is quiet.
"It is ludicrous - there are roadworks everywhere you go. It is getting to the stage where it is costing me a lot more money to go out to work because of the extra fuel it is using.
"This is the worst I can ever remember it - it wasn't as bad this when they built the Quality Bus Corridor on the A638. I suspected there will be employers finding their staff cannot got in on time.
"I think if they were sensible, the council would have made sure it was spread out over time.
"But now there are three major road works. They have pretty much isolated the town centre. I can't see it getting better for some time."
He said the town centre disruption was having a knock-on effect on the A1(M) and the M18 as drivers tried to divert.
Market trader and former councillor Mick Maye is also concerned about the problem and said he believed it would "inevitably hit trade" for shops and stalls as people would not be prepared to wait in traffic to come to town.
He described the current state as "more or less gridlocked".
Major works are currently taking place at the A630 Balby Road as part of a scheme aiming to make the route faster. Strengthening works were already going ahead at Balby Bridge.
There is also a road closure at Barnby Dun on Madam Lane, due to the refurbishment of the canal swing bridge, which is being carried out by British Waterways. These works have been planned to coincide with a closure of the canal network.
The third major works are gas safety works on the A19 Bentley Road, being carried out by the M1 Gas Alliance as part of a programme to replace gas mains near buildings.
Doncaster Council says a number of works have been delayed or have had restrictions imposed on the timings to try to relieve the problems. But it added some works on the road network are undertaken under emergency powers where there is limited scope for intervention by the Highway Authority.
Daniel Fell, head of policy at Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, said: "The road works in Doncaster will no doubt be causing some inconvenience to residents and businesses alike. Balby Road is used by 44,000 road users a day and would be impossible to make improvements without some disruption.
He said businesses understood road maintenance and improvements were essential but it was important for firms to be consulted about the timing and "appropriateness" of works so they could make contingency plans and notify staff, clients and customers. He added the chamber would will monitor the impact on business and liaise with the council if it becomes a significant problem.
Peter Dale, director of regeneration and environment at the council, said: "We apologise for any delays caused by these roadworks. There is significant investment being put into improving our roads and we are doing all we can to minimise disruption by carrying out work at weekends and during non-peak hours where possible.
"I urge people to be patient and plan their journeys allowing for the extra time needed."
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