Truro traffic gridlock caused by Trafalgar roundabout scheme working "too well"
A traffic improvement scheme which has resulted in gridlock on roads in Truro was working “too well” according to Cornwall Council.
The massive Trafalgar roundabout scheme - with an initial budget of £2.25 million - has introduced a third lane and was designed to “improve traffic flow and access for pedestrians and cyclists”.
But the controversial scheme, including provision for buses to cut across the main dual carriageway into Quay Street, has left drivers in the area locked in huge traffic tailbacks.
Cornwall Council refused to say how much the project had cost and said the project was performing “better than anticipated”.
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Mary Oram, who lives on Malpas Road near the roundabout, said: “Lights are getting stuck, queues are worse than ever at peak periods and Malpas Road drivers are blocked from crossing over to the centre by queues of mainstream traffic.
“Drivers confused by the lack of signposting get in the wrong lanes and everyone is frustrated by long delays at the traffic lights.”
Since the new traffic lights for the bus gate on Morlaix Avenue came into operation at the beginning of January commuters have on occasions faced tailbacks stretching from Trafalgar back to Arch Hill and beyond.
The scheme was introduced to prepare for the new park-and-ride to be built at the top of Tregolls Road with a Waitrose store.
But the project was dogged by controversy as nine months of noisy night-time work left Cornwall Council forking out for hotel stays and made-to-measure soundproofing curtains for residents who could not sleep.
Drivers were then less than impressed when the new roundabout opened in November with motorists branding it a “white-knuckle ride” and the council admitting there were “teething problems”.
The West Briton asked Cornwall Council if it was now happy with the impact of the Trafalgar roundabout scheme on traffic in the city.
A council spokesman said: “Upon initial commissioning Trafalgar was operating too well for A39 traffic flows and, through a period of signal adjustments, the opposing junction flows have been balanced, in combination with road marking changes to improve lane discipline.
“Traffic flows on Morlaix Avenue will always be heavy in the morning because traffic is accessing the same destinations. Trafalgar is performing better than anticipated and is expected to provide at least a 10 per cent capacity benefit through the junction overall.”
The spokesman said the traffic was being made worse by the South West Water and Wales and West Utilities works on the other side of the city that have closed roads.
The West Briton asked repeatedly for the final cost of the roundabout but Cornwall Council did not provide a response.