Gridlock has come to Burnley and Padiham as motorway safety work has seen traffic virtually grind to a halt on surrounding A-roads.
Motorists have found their journeys in and out of Burnley delayed by up to an hour since work began on Monday to strengthen safety barriers on the M65.
This comes on top of a project already under way to install traffic lights on Westway, near the approach to Gannow roundabout. All this has seen more motorists using the Padiham by-pass and Colne Road, causing virtual gridlock.
Oliver Starkey, highways manager for East Lancashire, said: “This scheme is vital to improve the standard of safety barriers on the M65 and will also help to reduce delays by allowing two lanes of traffic to be maintained during future works.
“We’ll do our best to minimise disruption and, where possible, look to avoid working when we can expect the motorway to be at its busiest, for example on days that Burnley Football Club are playing at home.
“We’re sorry for the inconvenience and would ask people who use the M65 to leave extra time for their journeys while the work takes place.”
Work will affect the part of the motorway from Junction 10 at Burnley to Junction 14 at Colne which is maintained by Lancashire County Council.
In the short term, it will help to reduce delays during a major project to replace the central barrier, which is currently proposed to take place in 2015.
The improvements will strengthen the barriers next to the hard shoulder, and bridge parapet walls, to reduce the risk of vehicles going through them in the event of an accident.
The work is expected to take 22 weeks, with the scheme scheduled to be completed around the end of December.
Work will begin at Junction 12, progressing to Junction 10 along the westbound carriageway, before returning along the eastbound side.