Highways chief hits back after complaints about roadworks

Signs in Horncastle’s Bull Ring give drivers plenty of notice for the road closure on the A158.Signs in Horncastle’s Bull Ring give drivers plenty of notice for the road closure on the A158.
Signs in Horncastle’s Bull Ring give drivers plenty of notice for the road closure on the A158.
Lincolnshire County Council highway chiefs have hit back at complaints after two major sets of roadworks in the Horncastle area left drivers and residents fuming.

The News received several complaints that the closure of the A158 north of Horncastle had led to vehicles diverting along rural back roads in Hemingby and turning the picturesque village into a rat ran.

Parish council chairman Doug Rodwell claimed the problems were caused by poor signage and called for a full investigation, once the Covid-19 lockdown eased.

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The main recommended diversion route involved a 33-mile route from Wragby via the A157 to Louth and then the A153 to Horncastle.

However, more motorists were caught in delays when - as well as the A158 closure - the county council put temporary traffic lights on the A153 south of West Ashby for resurfacing work.

One motorist accused highways chiefs of ‘dropping a right old clanger’.

However, Council Richard Davies, executive member for highways, defended his authority.

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He told the News: “The diversion route for the A158 resurfacing work is well signposted in advance, and so it is disappointing to hear that so many drivers have ignored the diversion to go through Hemingby, especially those HGVs which are over the village’s weight restriction.

“Together with the local policing team, we’ve done a lot of work in Hemingby to mitigate the impacts of drivers ignoring the diversion, including producing and installing extra road signage, and enforcement.

“We moved these works forward in our schedule to take advantage of the significantly lower than normal traffic, and therefore reduce disruption for the surrounding villages along the whole length of the diversion route.

“However, we cannot control drivers’ behaviour.”

Regarding the work on the A153, Coun Davies added: “We’re sorry to about delay to some drivers’ journeys on the A153.

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“Unfortunately, due to the full schedule of surface dressing across the county, we couldn’t reschedule the work on the A153 without impacting on other projects.

“We also wanted to complete this work on a Sunday whilst lockdown measures remain in place, to minimise the disruption for road users.

“Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, traffic across the county remains significantly less than normal, and the surface dressing work on the A153 took just an hour and a half, with the road staying open throughout.”

Residents have told the News that the signage on the A158 had been improved and that traffic through the village - and on other rural roads - had improved.

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Alan Taylor, who lives near Hemingby, said: “You can’t blame drivers taking a short cut.

“Who’d opt to drive 33 miles on the diversion when you can cut through on a back road for an extra couple of miles.

“The whole thing was badly planned and they should have done more to stop lorries.”

There were signs in the Bull Ring in Horncastle and in Wragby informing drivers of the road closure and pointing them in the direction of the diversion.

• The works on the A158 were scheduled to be completed at the start of this week.

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