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Relief for commuters after traffic lights are removed after two day A339 tailback

No workmen sighted on stretch of road between Newbury and Basingstoke

Jane Meredith

Reporter:

Jane Meredith

Contact:

01635 886637

Two day A339 tailback after utility company forgets to remove traffic lights

A Greenham Business Park road haulage manager has lambasted West Berkshire Council for failing to step in to remove A339 temporary traffic lights which caused long tailbacks of traffic over two days this week - with no workmen in sight.

Drivers along the A339 -  a main route between Newbury and Basingstoke - found their journeys abruptly halted, for a long wait on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, (Aug 18 and 19), at temporary traffic lights installed on the A339 near Greenham Business Park, just before the Burghclere turn-off.

Among the many drivers mystified and very annoyed by the lack of any apparent work over the two days and resulting delays due to the lights, was the operations manager of a Greenham Business Park haulage company, who did not want to be named, but said the road closure had caused huge disruption for his drivers and was, he claimed, illegal:

"The only people allowed to do this (make a road closure) are the police, anyone else needs a permit," he said.

"I have lorries trying to work  and they are losing three quarters of an hour driving time, whilst the exhaust fumes (from queuing traffic) are affecting neighbouring ancient woodland."

As the authorising authority for the work(s) permit, he felt that West Berkshire Council (WBC) should have stepped in sooner to remove the lights:

"Why, if West Berkshire Council issue a permit, don't they inspect it to make sure everything has been carried out correctly?" he said.

He had watched, he continued, an ambulance with flashing blue light, trying to negotiate the huge queue of traffic, which tailed back on the A339 to Headley village southbound and the Sandleford link in Newbury northbound.

"I thought, if someone was in my house waiting for an ambulance to get through, then they could be dead by now," he said.

West Berkshire Council spokesman, Martin Dunscombe, yesterday (Wed) said the traffic lights were due to works by Thames Water.

"The work finished on Tuesday (Aug 18) and the lights should have been taken down. Clearly they weren't and we are taking up the issue with Thames Water," he said.

A Thames Water spokesman said: “The traffic lights were needed so we could repair a leaking pipe safely. The work has now finished and the lights will be taken down this (Wednesday Aug 19) afternoon. We’re sorry for any disruption they caused.”

UPDATE 3.50PM

Thames Water advise the temporary traffic lights were removed at 2.20pm today (Wed) 

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