No answers to Warwick’s gridlock nightmare

Warwick, Smith Street.'MHLC-31-01-15  NNL-150202-114758009
Warwick, Smith Street.'MHLC-31-01-15 NNL-150202-114758009

Nothing can be done to stop Warwick being gridlocked or used as a thoroughfare - and sat navs are to blame, say highways officials.

The attitude was slammed as “unacceptable” by town councillors and fed-up residents who are left battling standstill traffic after every major road closure on the A45 or M40.

It simply isn’t enough for everybody to say they cannot do anything about it

John Holland

Police, highways and council representatives met at Warwick’s economic and tourism committee last week to discuss the ongoing issues.

But members were left frustrated after being told there may be no answer.

A major crash on the M40 in March saw all three lanes of the busy motorway closed for up to 12 hours. As a result traffic became gridlocked through Warwick well into the evening as drivers sought an alternative route through the town.

Resident and former traffic officer Tony Gooch, who said the problem is getting more common, wants to see agencies working better together to prevent events repeating.

“There was no liaison between different bodies here, no joined up plan,” he said.

“Traffic had nowhere to go and as a result it came here.

“This has been a problem for a long time. There is no easy solution but all we have heard is nothing can be done.”

County council officers insisted that the town centre is not a diversion route, but that they cannot stop drivers using it. Officer Keith Davenport said: “There have been a number of incidents recently where we haven’t been informed that roads are closed.

“If people come off they do so because of sat navs or they know a better route and we will always have that happen.”

Cllr John Holland branded the meeting “deeply unsatisfactory” after all bodies failed to agree to any future plan.

He said: “We are surrounded by the M40, A452 and A46 and if any one of those has a problem we see the traffic come to our town centre.

“We already have air quality which is outside of the safe limits and action should be taken to protect our residents.

“It simply isn’t enough for everybody to say they cannot do anything about it.”

Chris Lewis from PCC Philip Seccombe’s office said they were “very interested in the bigger picture” of how agencies work together and would monitor progress.