SOUTH Cumbria's arterial A590 has been branded "not fit for purpose" and "a glorified farm track" after a growing number of rush hour traffic backlogs.

Road users shared their concerns as they fear traffic will be disrupted further as winter approaches.

Massive tailbacks on the A590 following a recent collapsed drain at Arrad Foot, roadworks in Ulverston and incidents on the Dalton bypass has led to the community expressing their frustrations that the A road they must rely on is not up to scratch.

Mail readers took to Facebook to blast the A590 an "absolute disgrace," "a nightmare being closed each week" and they felt that "if it was down south the infrastructure would be better".

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock has long campaigned for improvements to the roads infrastructure across Furness.

He said: “It is hugely important for traffic to be kept moving on the A590 since it is our main artery that serves thousands of commuters, families, businesses and the road is hugely important for the visitor economy.

“Improvements have been made, not least the £1m project to resolve the long-running flooding issues at the Lindal dip, but parts of the ageing infrastructure occasionally fail such as the collapsed drain at Arrad Foot.

“The government must make sure Highways England is equipped with robust resources to keep the route adequately maintained and ready for another northern winter.”

The Mail put readers' criticism to Highway England, the body responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the route, and asked if the road is ready for the long winter ahead.

The body said improvements have been made through the summer and there are more to happen in the coming weeks.

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council's highways boss, urged road users to be patient with Highways England as the work is carried out.

He said: "The road is maintained by Highways England.

"I am aware there have been many issues of the A590 of late, especially in the Ulverston area.

"We have started our winter preparations and as part of that we will be speaking to the Highways Agency to see if we can help them out.

"I would urge the public to be patient as the maintenance being carried out is essential."

A spokesman for Highways England said: “The A590 is a key strategic route, connecting south Cumbria to the rest of the country, and we’re committed to improving journeys for the 30,000 drivers who travel along the road every day.

“We’ve been carrying out maintenance work throughout the summer to improve drainage, upgrade safety barriers and cut back grass to enhance visibility. We’ll also be resurfacing sections of the A590 over the next few weeks to provide smoother journeys.

“Our salt supplies have already been topped up at our Millness depot near the M6, and our gritters are on standby to start treating every mile of the route when temperatures start to drop this winter.”

Highways England reiterated its plans to introduce a new £5m roundabout on the A590 at Swarthmoor.

The scheme is being funded by the government’s Growth and Housing Fund, South Lakeland District Council and using private sector funding to support housing development opportunities in the area.

The roundabout will be created at the junctions with Pennington Lane and Main Road on a stretch of the A590 with the aim of making it easier to join and leave the A590 as well as improving safety.