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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Cumbria bus passengers hit by delays on A590

IN the first of a two-part series looking into the impact of roadworks, reporter JONATHAN ROBINSON explores how projects are affecting public transport, tourism and business

BUS passengers are experiencing long delays and missed journeys due to roadworks causing “chaos” on the Cumbria roads.

Passengers have reported problems with the reliability of the X6 service from Kendal to Barrow due to tailbacks on the A590, and some customers have even been forced to pay for taxis to get to work on time.

Roadworks by the Highways Agency are taking place in several locations on the A590, including drainage works between Askam Road roundabout and Park Road roundabout, and repair works between the junctions with the A592 and the A6.

Temporary traffic lights have also been put up on the A590 in Arrad Foot at the Newlands junction, further delaying cars and buses.

Phil Halliwell, bus operator of Blueworks Taxis, said he believed the cluster of repair projects in South Cumbria was due to the Highways Agency spending what is left of their budget before the end of the financial year.

He said: “They are spending money for the sake of it before the year end. It’s just bad planning.

“If they were acting like a business like us then they would plan it better throughout the year.

“Some (of the roadworks) are necessary but I think they have been stupid. They could save some of that money and spend it on building better bus routes.”

A spokesman from the Highways Agency denied the recent spate of roadworks was an attempt to use up leftover funds from the year’s budget.

He said: “The Highways Agency schemes taking place on the A590 have been planned for some time.

“We would like to thank people for their patience while the improvement and maintenance work is taking place, and hope they will appreciate the long-term benefits.”

Blueworks Taxis, which operates the number 11 service between Barrow and Ulverston along the coast road, have reported delays of 30 minutes between Backbarrow, where they are based, and Lakeside.

Mr Halliwell said drivers were caught out by queuing traffic for three weeks at Newby Bridge due to the building of a footpath earlier this year.

He added: “(The roadworks) have not been well thought through. It has got so bad that we expect traffic lights wherever we go. They have caused chaos.

“I understand it is expensive to do (them) in the evening but that outweighs the money being lost by businesses.”

A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said the repairs on local roads were affecting its X6 service the most.

She said: “The roadworks on the A590 have caused some delays to our X6 service as well as other road users. We are endeavouring to liaise with those responsible for the works to ensure that any delays are kept to a minimum.”

l Pick up a copy of tomorrow’s paper to read more about the frustration being caused to motorists on the A590 in the second part of our roadworks special.

Have your say

You didn't mention the traffic lights on the A595 south of Kirby where road works are going on at a snails pace. Worst road in Cumbria. Absolute disgrace.

Posted by john on 18 March 2014 at 07:02

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