Watch as DAY TWO of three-month major roadworks sees more traffic CHAOS around Northampton General Hospital

Councillor in charge of roadworks apologises to hospital staff and patients but tells motorists to plan journeys or find alternative route

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 12:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 1:55 pm

Traffic was CRAWLING through Northampton AGAIN yesterday (Tuesday, September 21) due to major roadworks taking place at a busy junction.

The Chron went down to Northampton General Hospital (NGH) and the surrounding areas last night at around 5pm to understand how the Cliftonville/Bedford Road roadworks are affecting traffic in the town.

Many hospital workers and patients faced two to three hour queues to get out of NGH on Monday (September 20), the first day of the works.

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The works, which West Northamptonshire Council and Northamptonshire Highways is responsible for, are set to last until December and will see the carriageway widened on the approach to Bedford Road, creating an additional lane.

Ironically, Northamptonshire Highways tweeted on Tuesday that it was Zero Emissions Day, which was established to raise awareness about the harm caused by carbon emissions.

Here's what the Chron saw:

There was a half-mile queue of traffic on the Bedford Road from the crossroads near Beckets Park to the Cliftonville Road junction. It was the same in the opposite direction, too.

There was queues of traffic along the Bedford Road on Tuesday (September 21)

The bottom of Cliftonville Road to the hospital's entrance looks like a go-kart track, with orange barriers and temporary traffic lights everywhere.

Inside Northampton General Hospital's car park, motorists faced a 15 to 30 minute wait time to get out of the Cliftonville Road exit, and then additional queues in town. This, however, was better than on Tuesday, where motorists faced queues of two to three hours to get out this exit.

Those leaving the hospital via the Cheyne Walk exit faced a much longer wait to not only leave NGH but then get out of town, too. Cheyne Walk was also crawling.

There were half-mile queues of single-file traffic in both direction down Billing Road, too. This begs the question, how will ambulances get in and out of A&E during peak times? The council has been contacted for comment on this.

These queues mentioned above also had effects on busy roads further out such as York Road, Wellingborough Road and Kettering Road, which were all congested.

In summary, the town's major inner roads were mobbed with crawling traffic. These roadworks are set to last until December.

West Northamptonshire Council's Phil Larratt, who is responsible for highways in the town, said the first day of major roadworks are 'normally the worst'.

Councillor Larratt said: “The area around NGH is one the busiest parts of our road network and while we have carefully planned the work to be as efficient as possible, disruption is inevitable.

“We would urge anyone travelling to that area of town to allow more time for their journey and to follow diversion routes. We would also encourage those that can, to find alternatives ways of travelling through the area.

“We can only offer our sincere apologies to hospital workers and any patients experiencing delays, but we will continue to work with the hospital to minimise the impact.

“The council and its contractors continue to strive to make improvements to the area’s roads...we believe these works will make life easier for all roads users, reduce congestion and improve air quality once they are complete.”

The councillor added that he is working with the University of Northampton and that the council has seen 'improved signage' is needed in the area.

An NGH spokeswoman said the hospital is working with the council to ease disruption and find a solution.

The spokeswoman said: “We are sorry for any inconvenience that our patients, visitors and staff members are experiencing when leaving our hospital site due to the improvement roadworks being undertaken by West Northamptonshire Council.

“Where possible we will be offering virtual appointments for patients and would advise people to only attend the hospital site if necessary or for a pre-booked appointment.

“We are continuing to look at solutions with the council."