Highways chiefs have admitted £6m improvements to the A483 in Chester which caused months of motorist misery are failing to work as they should.
They conceded traffic lights at the new Posthouse Roundabout junction are not “working at their maximum capacity” and blamed some drivers for making “tactical manoeuvres to get ahead of other vehicles” in foiling efforts to optimise them.
Highways England chiefs also admitted traffic modelling, before the multi-million pound project started, did not take into account the stretch of the A483 under Cheshire West and Chester’s (CWaC) control between the business park and the Posthouse roundabout.
The admissions were revealed in a letter by Highways England asset delivery manager Andy Withington, to Wrexham MP Ian Lucas after a constituent raised concerns about the new junction .
Mr Lucas blasted the road agency and said they should have sorted out the issues, insisting it was wrong to blame drivers who were just trying to get to work.
In the letter Mr Withington said they were currently analysing data to assess how the junction was being used and were determined to make it a success.
Mr Withington said: “Although there has been some improvement in traffic flows, the full benefits are not yet being realised.
“This is largely because the traffic signals are not yet working at their maximum capacity and we are addressing this.”
He added: “We have observed some motorists tend to make tactical manoeuvres to get ahead of other vehicles on the approach to the roundabout and this compromises our efforts to resolve the problem.
“Responsibility for these manoeuvres rest firmly with the motorists concerned.”
Mr Withington said: “The traffic modelling exercise did not include the length of the A483 under the council’s control between Posthouse Roundabout and the Chester Business Park Junction. With hindsight it would have been beneficial to have included this section in our traffic modelling exercise.”
He also added CWaC was upgrading traffic signals across Chester which would have an impact between the business park and the roundabout.
Mr Lucas said: “It is clear that the roadworks have not worked as Highways England had hoped and this is very disappointing, given the amount of money spent and difficulties they caused when they were being done.
“Is this going to be a sticking plaster instead of any real improvements to the junction which is not going to provide the infrastructure needed to benefit the Wrexham and Chester areas?
“It is also completely wrong to blame motorists who are just trying to get to work and Highways England should have taken into account the stretch of road by the Chester business park before starting.
“I hope we are not having this conversation again next year.”
The £6m A483 roadworks, which started in September last year, were finished at the end of June after two delays and months of traffic chaos.
A spokesperson for Highways England said: “The Posthouse junction is one of the busiest roundabouts in the North West and the extra lane and new traffic lights have helped to improve the flow of traffic since the roadworks were removed earlier in the year.
“The new intelligent traffic light system responds to changes in the number of vehicles approaching the junction from each direction, and we are doing all we can to make sure it is working at its optimum level.”