A449 roadworks: Council defends traffic lights decision after week of queues in Wolverhampton
Council bosses have defended a decision to keep traffic lights running on a main route in Wolverhampton despite a junction being closed off.
Frustrated drivers heading in and out of Wolverhampton on the A449 Stafford Road have been stuck in queues near the M54 island where a major roadworks scheme is being carried out.
But there have been questions as to why traffic lights are continuing to operate at the A449 junction with Broadlands - causing traffic to back up - when there is no access to the road.
Wolverhampton Council said the lights need to be kept working so traffic can exit a service road and pedestrians can cross the road. Roads chiefs said the lights stay on green for as long as possible.
Lanes have also been closed off this week as part of a scheme to widen the section of Stafford Road, which has seen an increase in traffic since the creation of the i54 plant.
The work has led to major hold-ups for drivers leaving the city, with the traffic lights near the Moseley pub adding to the problems, with drivers complaining of delays of more than half an hour.
Nearby Vine Island has been chaotic during rush hour, with vehicles backed up around the roundabout and on Wobaston Road.
But a city council spokesman said: "As part of the highway improvement scheme at A449 Stafford Road, junction works are currently taking place at Broadlands, which is closed until end of October.
"Although the traffic signal green time has been extended to allow as much straight-on traffic flow as possible, short periods of red time are still needed.
"This enables traffic to exit the adjacent service road and provides a means for pedestrians to cross Stafford Road.
"As work progresses, the existing signals will be removed and replaced with new, during which time temporary crossing measures will be put in place for pedestrians."
The 18-month roadwork scheme started in January. Central reservations are being slimmed to allow the dual carriageway to be widened to try and cut congestion on one of the city's busiest routes.
A fed-up driver told the Express & Star: "The congestion on Stafford Road this week has added between 15 and 30 minutes to my commute every day.
"It's particularly frustrating as Stafford Road has remained at two lanes throughout the summer holidays and the council has decided to wait until schools are back to reduce one of the busiest stretches to one lane.
"And then to be forced to wait for a red light when Broadlands is closed off just rubs salt in the wound."