Ipswich delays caused by pair of planned National Grid works in Wherstead Road/Handford Road

The roadworks on Handford Road are causing a build up of traffic throughout Ipswich.

The roadworks on Handford Road are causing a build up of traffic throughout Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Motorists in Ipswich were plagued by traffic delays today after it emerged that two sets of planned roadworks by National Grid on two of the town’s busiest roads were scheduled at the same time.

The roadworks on Handford Road are causing a build up of traffic throughout Ipswich.

The roadworks on Handford Road are causing a build up of traffic throughout Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Temporary traffic lights were put up in Handford Road on Monday, with three days allocated for the work.

But temporary traffic lights for separate three-day works by National Grid were also set up in Wherstead Road this morning, leaving both areas gridlocked.

One motorist reported a 1.3m stretch of London Road taking 40 minutes to negotiate, while another said they failed to get through the temporary lights in Handford Road coming out of Suffolk Retail Park 11 times.But despite both sets of work being planned in advance, they were still allowed to go ahead at the same time.

A Suffolk County Council highways spokesman said: “We understood from National Grid that Handford Road would be complete in one day (9 January) and an inspector is now following up to understand if there has been a delay for some reason.

“Wherstead Road was work that was originally booked for the Christmas period but we asked National Grid to delay due to the increase in traffic over Christmas.

“We also stipulated off peak working instructions to ensure a reduced impact on the morning and evening rush hour.”

Wherstead Road and Handford Road are two of the main routes into the town centre from the west side of Ipswich, with hundreds of motorists being caught up in the chaos.

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One online reader, Darren Walters, said it took him 25 minutes to travel less than half a mile, while another, Alun Tucker, reported that no warning signs had been put in place in London Road.

Highways bosses said they were hopeful the Handford Road work would be completed soon to minimise disruption, while flexible working patterns in Wherstead Road were being used to help complete the work as promptly as possible.

A National Grid spokesman said both works were being carried out to maintain safe and reliable gas connections, and added: “Work is carefully scheduled, for instance often planned work is avoided during busy periods such as the Christmas shopping season, to minimise disruption to the area.

“Our priority is to ensure safe and reliable gas supplies are maintained while delivering any work with as little disruption as possible to the local area and road users.

“We’re sorry for any disruption our work may be causing and will do all we can to complete it as soon as possible.”