Whitby could be in for a red light nightmare with its busiest junction at a standstill during the summer holidays.
Northern Gas Networks has started eight weeks of works at Four Lane Ends roundabout, which have already caused much misery to motorists.
Four-way temporary traffic lights on the approach from the town has forced traffic to back up all the distance to Downdinner Hill from Mayfield Road.
The work is set to continue for the next few weeks, taking the delays into the busy summer holiday period that so many businesses rely on.
John Freeman, chairman of the Whitby Tourism Association, has branded the timing of the work, to replace metal pipes with plastic ones, as ‘thoughtless’ and ‘stupid’.
He told The Whitby Gazette: “This just shows that the utilities have no appreciation of what goes on in Whitby.
“This town is reliant on tourism and this is the one of the main routes into Whitby for people.
“If it was emergency work I could understand but the fact it could have been done at anytime just makes me think that the timing is thoughtless and stupid.
“I honestly don’t know what they were thinking when this decision was taken.
“It is baffling to me.”
Norther Gas Networks says the project involves replacing an old metal pipe with a durable new plastic pipe to ensure the ‘continued, safe and reliable supply of gas to customers in the area for years to come’ and is part of a £180,000 investment in infrastructure in the area.
It is due to be completed on July 19.
Northern Gas Networks site manager, Peter Knapton added: “In order to carry out the work safely and efficiently, temporary traffic lights have been installed at Ruswarp Lane roundabout.
The lights are being manned during peak times to minimise delays to road users.
“As the work progresses, the four way lights will reduce to two way lights on Ruswarp Lane, which should help to encourage traffic flow.”
He added: “We know that no one likes roadwork’s and would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank customers for their patience.
“If you would like to speak to us about the work please contact our Customer Care team on 0800 040 7766 (option 7).”