Commuter chaos as roads south out of Alnwick are closed

North Northumberland motorists seeth at diversions for roadworks send them round in circles

Traffic using the single lane on the A1 motorway, north of Alnwick
Traffic using the single lane on the A1 motorway, north of Alnwick

Angry North Northumberland motorists blasted the Highways Agency this morning for “chaotic” diversion signs which sent them round in circles during rush hour.

Commuters in and around Alnwick trying to access the southbound A1 slip road at the A1068 junction faced road closed signs without prior warning and were forced to turn back.

A confusing series of diversion signs then led many to Shilbottle where a further two slip roads were also closed. Drivers instead had to travel through Morpeth or head north to Denwick in order to join the northbound route.

Louise Peters, of The Dunterns, Alnwick, was turned back at 7.50am and again at Shilbottle before finally having success further north.

The 32-year-old project worker said: “I knew nothing about the extent of these roadworks and clearly I wasn’t the only one as everyone was in the same boat.

“To close the slip road during rush hour with not enough warning is bad enough but then to have such awful diversion signage made it even worse.

“Drivers didn’t know what to do - it was chaotic. All it needed was a sign of explanation.”

Ronan Paterson, a performing arts lecturer at Teesside University who lives in Hillcrest Park, Alnwick, spent an extra 45 minutes getting back on to the A1.

He said: “We first tried to get on the A1 at Alnwick and couldn’t so we followed the signs to Shilbottle and they sent us round in a circle and back to Alnwick. I ended up going to Warkworth and getting on at Felton.

“It was an absolute disgrace and I was ranting and raving, as well as being very late for work. How much disruption and working hours were lost - all for the sake of not being able to write a decent sign.”

The roadworks are being carried out by A-one+ on behalf of the Highways Agency.

A Highways Agency spokesperson said: “The Highways Agency and its contractor A-one+ apologise for any inconvenience caused to local motorists in the Alnwick area this morning.

“The roadworks are to allow sections of resurfacing to take place along the southbound A1 between Alnwick South Interchange and West Cawledge Park, and are due to be completed this weekend.

“A contraflow traffic management system was installed on the A1 south of Alnwick last night which led to local motorists in the Alnwick and Shilbottle area experiencing difficulties this morning.

“Following feedback, we have made a detailed review of the traffic management and as a result additional signing is being installed to ensure motorists are given clearer directions for their journey through these roadworks from today.”

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