Cause of bus chaos was “sudden increase in traffic and phasing of traffic lights”

The delays at North Gate Bus Station on Monday
The delays at North Gate Bus Station on Monday

Highways engineers have been working through the night to create a new layout around the new North Gate bus station to prevent a repeat of the gridlock in the town centre on Monday.

An emergency meeting was called last night involving Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Police to try to ensure the new scheme worked on Tuesday.

In a statement released by Northampton Borough Council, the traffic chaos on Monday has been blamed on a sudden increase in traffic using College Street and Bradshaw Street.

The council said this was possibly compounded by the phasing of the traffic lights on Bradshaw Street and the Drapery, and pedestrians crossing the Drapery and Sheep Street against the traffic signals.

Immediate actions taken last night include:

- Creating a new road layout at the junction of College Street and Bradshaw Street, to ensure that buses leaving North Gate are given priority

- Police officers and parking enforcement officers will have a high profile presence around the town centre to enforce the existing traffic regulations

- These include no vehicles except buses and taxis are permitted to use the Drapery, and no vehicles except buses should be travelling north from Sheep Street to turn into Lady’s Lane

- A yellow box junction will be created at the junction of Bradshaw Street and Sheep Street to stop vehicles blocking the junction

- Yellow box junction will be created at the top of Sheep Street junction with Greyfriars travelling north as a priority

- If time overnight, a yellow box junction will be created at the junction of Sheep Street and Greyfriars westbound

- Both the traffic lights and pedestrian crossings in Bradshaw Street, Sheep Street and the junction with the Drapery will be monitored throughout the day

A spokesman said; “The situation will be monitored closely throughout the day and contingency plans can be put in place if traffic begins to build up again. Longer term solutions to assist in the free movement of traffic around the bus station will also be considered.”

Councillor David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council, thanked the agencies involved for working together to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

“Traffic moved through the bus station well during the busiest times this morning and the very difficult situation we faced happened very suddenly. I know that buses are vital to our town and it is absolutely critical we get it right, we are all committed to working together to make sure we do.

“Northamptonshire County Council engineers will be working through the night and we will be on the scene from first thing in the morning, closely watching how the day develops and ready to respond if things begin to go wrong.”