'Why wasn't it done in lockdown?' Drivers criticise decision to close A617 Hasland bypass for roadworks after gridlock in Chesterfield
Chesterfield motorists have been asking why a major gateway into the town was closed for roadworks on one of the busiest weekends of the year.
The A617 Hasland bypass, from Horns Bridge roundabout to the M1, was shut on Saturday and Sunday – the first weekend of the school holidays – for what Derbyshire County Council called a delayed ‘spring clean’.
The authority said it put back the work this year to be ‘kinder to nature by letting the grass grow a bit longer’.
Highways bosses said a complete closure of the road was necessary for safety reasons.
However, Chesterfield drivers, some of whom faced delays to journeys of more than an hour, asked why the work wasn’t completed during lockdown or at night.
Danny White posted on the Derbyshire Times’ Facebook page: “Honestly whoever plans these roadworks, definitely does not drive or have kids.”
He questioned why it was ‘a great idea, to close the main route from Chesterfield to the M1 on the first weekend the kids have broken up for the six-week holiday?’
Gillian Derbyshire asked why the work could not have been done at night.
She said it took more than one hour to reach Junction 29 of the M1 from Newbold and she was late for a birthday celebration.
Lee Wilmot posted: "Absolute joke, hope there are no medical emergencies today. In six months it will be the same when Horns Bridge is flooded just like every year.”
Mark Greenwood said: “Why wasn't it done during lockdown?!”
Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways assets and transport, Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal, said: “We need to carry out this work, but by bringing together different teams from the county council, and our district and borough partners we can be more efficient and not impact on the travelling public too much.
“We’ve delayed this programme by a month or so this year so that we are kinder to nature by letting the grass grow a bit longer so that some native species are given longer to flower or seed.”
He said some dual carriageways ‘need to fully close’ to enable the work to be carried out safely.
The council has apologised for any inconvenience caused.