“Andy,” the bus driver shouted as I was being walked past the long traffic jam by Mel the Collie. “It’s utter chaos. It’s taking an hour to get around town.” He was driving the vital 722 park and ride service which has a 30-minute schedule. “Who on earth allowed three sets of roadworks in Ludlow on the same day,” he asked.

The answer to his question is Shropshire Council which is spending millions on transforming the way it works but not on, it seems, the way its highways team works.

The roadworks on Foldgate Lane and Sheet Road have been planned for a long time and were suspended over Easter. The same was true with the lane closure on Station Drive by Network Rail. The town’s traffic could cope with both roadworks until Shropshire Council’s highways decided to close Henley Road completely for a minor repair yesterday and today.

The result is gridlock and chaos for two days during a major week for Ludlow’s visitor economy.  

Parys Road lunchtime Wednesay

Today there was a 250 metre backup of traffic on Parys Road at lunchtime with 200 metres on Sheet Road heading out of town. Traffic turning on to Sheet Road from the A49 was backed up across the roundabout.

The Foldgate Lane lights have caused delays for weeks but they have become one of the causes of the logjam this week because Henley Road has been closed for two days.

It was even worse yesterday, Tuesday, Shropshire Council’s highways team decided to pick litter and mow the verges along the A49 bypass! That led to queues 1.5km long on one of Shropshire’s main north to south arteries. Were the crew’s managers unaware there were three sets of roadworks in Ludlow and traffic was using the A49 as a diversion?

Why were all these works underway at once? Closures for utility and construction work, included Foldgate Lane, are organised by the highways “street works team”. The Henley Road closure is organised by the “highways team.” I have no idea which team organised the mowing of the A49 verges but like the streetworks and highways teams, they are all within Shropshire Highways.

This week three different highways operators within the same department have managed to schedule works in Ludlow that clashed and created chaos. The observer on the much delayed Ludlow Omnibus might think three teams within a single department would coordinate with each other, but that is not the case in Shropshire Council’s highway department which seems to be collapsing as quickly as our county’s roads.

Tracey Huffer adds a commentary on the Henley Road works:

“The work on Henley Road was not needed, especially at a time when other roadworks were happening. Just yards away, Gravel Hill is in a terrible state. The stretch of road to the Station Drive lights is totally wrecked.

“I have been pressing for the Gravel Hill work to be done for years. Promises that the work would be done last year fell by the roadside. There is now no scheduled date for this essential work. Instead, a perfectly good stretch of Henley Road was resurfaced instead.

“The work on Henley Road does little to improve safety at the East Hamlet junction. There are still no halos on the beacons on the zebra crossing and the crossing markings there are fading into oblivion.

“Why does Ludlow have to put up with all this inconvenience and damage to trade when nothing is being achieved other than ticking a box on a spreadsheet in Shirehall?”

Parys Road lunchtime Wednesday
3 thought on “Gridlock in Ludlow today as Shropshire Council allows traffic lights on two main roads and closes another”
  1. How many of the ‘three different highways operators within the same department’ are direct labour? None I expect, but all three will,no doubt, be doing very well financially as contractors. Doesn’t the Highways ‘team’ have a manager? If so, where is the accountability for all this? Councillor Huffer is spot on regarding the Henley Road/East Hamlet junction/ Gravel Hill situation. Gravel Hill is a dangerous embarrassment for us all.
    Just take a look at the condition of highways in Powys: no potholes,just well managed direct labour getting on with a job being done and managed professionally at far lower cost to council tax payers.

  2. I have just recieved this. “Hi Andy, I’ve just driven up the A49 around Ludlow and the council have trimmed the verges. Not got a problem with that but they have also shredded the multitude of rubbish discarded there and it looks terrible.”

    You couldn’t make this up.

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