‘TOXIC roadworks’ are making life a misery say Leamington residents.
A project to improve and paint the railway bridge has created major traffic disruption along Princes Drive and surrounding roads.
As well as repairs, the £860,000 project aims to give the Network Rail-owned bridge an artistic facelift in time for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – with bowls and cycling taking place in Leamington and Warwick in July.
The bridge sits on a major road between Leamington’s Victoria Park, where the Lawn Bowl and Para Bowl events will take place, and Warwick’s St Nicholas Park, which will be the start and finish of the cycling road races. The races will also take in Princes Drive.
But a resident says the traffic lights and one-way system are causing drivers the ‘agony of sitting long, snarling, polluting traffic queues’.
Glenville Williams said: “There is no doubt that these toxic roadworks are causing an absolute nightmare for road users, residents and workers in the affected areas.
“These roadworks have probably negatively encroached on the life of every Leamington resident, from the extra pollution floating around the Parade to the knock on slower traffic on all the roads around the area. One way or another, these toxic roadworks are damaging the quality of people’s lives.”
The works, which began in early January, are expected to last for around another month.
They take place during weekdays and only on occasional weekends. Residents are asking the council to lift the traffic diversions on weekends when work does not take place.
Warwickshire County Counci Green Party leader Jonathan Chilvers is also concerned by the impact of the disruption on residents.
He told the Observer: “The work on this bridge does need doing ahead of the Commonwealth Games but, given the huge impact on residents of making a major route one way, I am very frustrated that Network Rail are not pulling out all the stops to get this work finished as soon as possible.
“At the moment there is only work scheduled until 5pm weekdays and occasional at weekends. That’s just not good enough.”
Warwick District Council is contributing some £121,000 to the project from a reserve pot while Network Rail is providing the remaining £740,000.
A petition has also been launched to stop ‘taxpayers’ money’ being used to fund the art project.
Network Rail has been contacted for a response.