MP blasts transport bosses for ‘shutting down Burnley’

Farce: Cars waiting on Burnham Gate
Farce: Cars waiting on Burnham Gate

Transport bosses have been branded as “amateurs” by the town’s MP as Burnley’s roadworks fiasco worsens.

An irate Gordon Birtwistle contacted the Express from his car on Friday morning after he had been stuck in traffic for more than 20 minutes as he attempted to get into town.

Gordon Birtwistle.'Photo Ben Parsons

Gordon Birtwistle.'Photo Ben Parsons

Speaking on his hands-free phone, the Burnley MP said: I want to congratulate Lancashire County Council for finally shutting Burnley down. They’ve been trying to do it for years and have finally succeeded. They’re amateurs.

“There are no signs of any work being done. I am now on Burnham Gate sitting in stationary traffic trying to get into town. Nothing is moving and the roundabout traffic is at a standstill.”

And Mr Birtwistle forecast that the work at the top of Westgate would take weeks to complete despite Lancashire County Council’s setting yet another finishing date of Friday, November 21st.

Motorists have been tearing their hair out over the roadworks which were scheduled to be completed at the end of August. And in another twist, parts of the recently completed granite footpaths along Trafalgar Street have been dug up so work can be done on installing new lampposts.

Transport bosses on Friday announced yet another delay to the completion of work at the Barracks roundabout. It was scheduled to finish on Friday but they say it will now be completed by this Friday, assuming the weather is good enough to put down road markings. The Mitre Street junction signals should also be in operation on Wednesday, November 26th.

Graeme Leathard, Principal Engineer at Lancashire County Council, said: “It is obviously deeply disappointing that completion of this work has been delayed and we are sorry for the disruption caused. We are currently awaiting an explanation for the delay from the contractor.

“This work has been part of a larger, highly-complex project that will improve this gateway into Burnley and mean fewer delays in future. I appreciate that this is frustrating and I am grateful for people’s continued patience.”

The councillor responsible for overseeing L CCs management of the roadworks apologised for the delay. County Coun. John Fillis, Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “I share people’s frustration that this project has overrun but we are very close to completion now and I’m sure people will then see the benefits of the work.

“The main delay has been caused by work by Electricity North West to divert a high-voltage cable on Trafalgar Street. A job that we were initially told would take two weeks eventually took 16 weeks to complete which had a major knock on effect on the rest of the project.

“We have also seen delays with the contract to install traffic lights at the Barracks roundabout and Mitre Street junction, which is the only outstanding work in the immediate area.

“We are awaiting an explanation for the delay from the contractor. In both cases we are looking to see what recourse there may be if the work has taken longer than could reasonably be expected. I am sorry that disruption has gone on for longer than we would have liked. I am sure that the long-term benefits to traffic flow and creating a more attractive entrance to the town.”