Traffic chaos ends in Warwick town centre

traffic chaos
traffic chaos

Warwick town centre was thrown into traffic chaos this week after a gas main fractured close to the castle.

The fault was finally fixed just after midnight this morning (Wed).

On Monday lunchtime a powerful smell of gas around the Bridge End traffic island was reported to National Grid.

The company immediately installed three-way temporary traffic lights on the roundabout at the junctions of Banbury Road and Myton Road as their workers dug underground.

This led to massive delays and tailbacks of vehicles as far back as Europa Way and the Longbridge roundabout.

On Monday night hundreds of motorists travelling home from work had to queue for more than an hour. Most were late for work on Tuesday morning and delayed again on Tuesday night.

The temporary lights were not able to be moved until just after midnight on Wednesday

A National Grid spokeswoman said the problem turned out to be two separate gas escapes, probably caused by the vibration of heavy traffic along the busy road.

She said: “This is a very busy area and we did have somebody controlling the lights at peak times but not always.”

County council leader Izzi Seccombe said: “National Grid identified a gas leak in the area and we granted them instant access to the site to rectify the problem and remove the threat of any danger.

“They are responsible for closing the road and for the necessary traffic management.

“Although not directly responsible, the county has worked hard to make the work happen as quickly as possible and alleviate the strain on traffic in the area.

“We had insisted that the traffic management system be operated manually, to avoid any delays in keeping the traffic moving.”

Cllr Seccombe said she appreciated people were experiencing frustration. But she said both she and Warwick District Council had done all they could to ensure disruption was kept to a minimum.

Anthony King, chairman of the Save Warwick group was quick to point out that the traffic snarl-up and congestion was a fine illustration of what 7,000 extra cars would do to the road system in Warwick if nearly 5,000 new homes were built. The Bridge End roundabout is among those that would have to be widened.