BREAKING NEWS: Gas repairs bring Northampton town centre to a standstill and cause bus diversions

Photo by Julian Marino shows the extent of the gridlock from The Drapery.
Photo by Julian Marino shows the extent of the gridlock from The Drapery.

Roadworks have brought Northampton town centre traffic to a near standstill over the lunchtime rush.

A double lane closure on the A508 Horse Market, by Sol Central, has created a jam that is causing traffic to back up around the Gas Street roundabout and northwards towards Barrack Road.

The Drapery at lunchtime. Picture by John Evans.

The Drapery at lunchtime. Picture by John Evans.

Buses are at a standstill along The Drapery with many services delayed or disrupted. The area around North Gate Bus station, including Sheep Street and Greyfriars is also extremely busy.

In the last few minutes, operator Uno has announced the number 19 bus is having to divert along Gold Street. It means the bus is not taking passengers from its usual stop near the Plough Hotel.

Owner of Northampton Health in The Drapery, Carol Faulkner, has described how hundreds of people are stranded at the bus stops along the street.

She said: "There are so many people out on The Drapery waiting.

The Drapery at lunchtime. Picture by John Evans.

The Drapery at lunchtime. Picture by John Evans.

"We have been going out there giving people cups of tea. There are at least 40 people waiting at bay15 alone.

"There are people coming in the shop on their mobile phones, calling schools to say they won't be able to pick their kids up."

Stagecoach, which runs the majority of services at North Gate, has announced "severe delays" to all of its services.

The roadworks at Sol Central are being carried out by National Grid.

Old iron gas mains are being replaced with more durable plastic pipes.

A spokeswoman for National Grid, said the double lane closure set to come to an end tomorrow.

She said that two lanes of the road have had to be closed today as a length of pipe is installed across the carriageway. The piping is largely complete now, but the Tarmac still needs to dry.

It is expected the two closed lanes will be reduced to just one lane by mid-morning tomorrow.

The spokeswoman said: "We apologise for the disruption.

"The good news is we have managed to get over two of the lanes today. That should alleviate the worst of the congestion."