Lerwick has been hit by traffic jams worthy of those featured on radio roads reports this week as ongoing work to replace water pipes converged on the town’s busiest junction.
The disruption started on Tuesday as temporary traffic lights were erected at the Grantfield roundabout to allow sections of the road on either side to be dug up, virtually bringing five o’clock traffic to a halt.
Tailbacks of cars heading into the town stretched as far back as the J Burgess Garage while vehicles heading north out of town queued up along Lochside and past the entrance to the Toll Clock Shopping Centre.
Customers at the Co-op supermarket had to queue to get out of the car park and workers from the council’s Grantfield offices struggled to find their way into the stream of traffic.
On Wednesday morning the lights were still in place, causing disruption once again.
Head of SIC roads department Ian Halcrow said the delay was caused by ongoing efforts by Scottish Water to replace Lerwick’s pipes and warned that the lights would be there for the forseeable future, although he couldn’t provide a precise timescale.
“The reason for the traffic lights is to allow for Scottish Water’s pipe laying works to take place in the vicinity of the junction. The even worse news is it’s likely to go on for some time yet.”
This is not the first time works by Scottish Water have caused disruption in the town. Last October businesses in Commercial Road reported a downturn in trade, as deep trenches were gouged into the road to allow that part of the £1.3 million pipe replacement project to take place.