Roads in and out of Whitby town centre were gridlocked this week by traffic chaos, disrupting thousands of people and businesses.
Work on the Mayfield Road junction led to blockages on eevry gateway, lengthening normally short jorneys to an hour.
One motorcyclist ended up in hospital after being hit by a car, students were late for exams, a funeral procession was stuck on the New Bridge and driving tests and lessons were disrupted as time scales went out of the window.
In addition, the normal school run was taking upwards of an hour to get from one side of town to the other - a trip that would usually only take 10 minutes.
Gym goers were left working out how to get home rather than to their classes and town centre businesses were quiet as customers avoided town.
For those that had to go to town such as delivery drivers, they could only manage half their usual drop offs and builders trying to get from jobs to merchants for supplies also struggled.
The tailbacks are being started by the improvements currently being made to the Mayfield Road junction. Temporary traffic lights and a manual ‘stop’ and ‘go’ system is in operation to control vehicles around the four exits on the junction.
The 12-week programme is expected to be completed by July. It is being funded largely by Sirius Minerals, the firm behind the proposed potash mine. The company is putting £400,000 towards the £705,000 scheme, £200,000 is coming from other agreements and £86,507 from North Yorkshire County Council.
Work started last month but the knock on effect reached a climax on Monday lunchtime. Cars were queuing over the New Bridge as far back as Helredale Shop and cars trying to go through town as an alternative were backed up Spital Bridge and at the Larpool cross roads.
In turn, there were closures and delays on the back road to Ruswarp, Pier Road was shut to allow for the borough council’s new retail kiosks and as high water fell, the swing bridge openings were being increased for river traffic further adding to the waiting time on Church Street and also New Quay Road and Bagdale.
Mayfield Road was closed for three hours from the lights to Four Lane Ends roundabout after a collision between a motorcyclist and a car. The driver of the Peugeot, a Whitby man in his 30s was shaken but unhurt, while the rider, a Guisborough man in his 50s, suffered serious leg injuries and was taken to James Cook.
Aside from the crash, there have been calls for both the county council and the borough council to be more considerate when scheduling road works and projects.
Via the Gazette facebook page, Carolyn Pearson said “It has been taking me up to 40 minutes to get to work at Eskdale from near Sneaton Castle, usually a seven minute journey. I am having to set off well before 8am to have a hope of not being late. “I went via Golden Grove a few times but found it dangerous, meeting huge lorries on blind bends, so I’m just having to wait in the traffic jam.”
James Dyson said: “It’s a complete joke. It’s annoying us now, so imagine what it’s going to be like in summer?”
Mathew Brown added: “There is the inability of the borough council and the county council to factor in the impact on tourism and the livelihoods of self-employed individuals. Every year there is some scheme, road works, initiatives that impact our businesses and the visitor experience and therefore economy. We elect individuals to represent our interests. Results only come from volunteers who make a stand, not our local politicians.”
•On Saturday afternoon there were two emergency incidents within minutes of each other. A woman suffered head injuries after being hit by a car near Caedmon School at around 4pm. She was transported by air ambulance to James Cook Hospital .
Members of the public retrieved a woman from the harbour less than 20 minutes later. She had fallen from the Quayside and suffered injuries during the fall. The inshore lifeboat was launched. She was transferred to Tate Hill beach where the Yorkshire Air Ambulance took the casualty to hospital.