Will roadworks be good for Hull's motorists in the long run?
SCATTERED across the city, a series of roadworks have caused traffic chaos over the last few weeks, causing commuter misery, writes James Campbell.
But will this period of pain lead to a smoother ride in the months and years to come?
Hull City Council argues it is best to get the work done now before the harsh winter weather sets in and delays everything.
But with road closures, traffic lights and diversions seemingly around every corner, it seems scant comfort for some.
A full head colour or 1/2 head highlights, luxury Redken treatment, cut & blowdry for JUST £40 (Save £25) or upgrade to a full head of highlights for JUST £50 (Save £35). Add a spray tan for JUST £10.
Terms: New customers only (not visited salon since 25/02/2013). Monday - Thursday only. Savings based on directors rates.
Contact: 01482 423178
Valid until: Wednesday, July 31 2013
The closure of County Road North in west Hull appeared to be the last straw.
That reopened this week but many other roads remain closed or restricted.
Taxi firms have been hit particularly hard.
Kevin Marsh, manager of 57 Taxis, said: "It's all about timing, really.
"The timing for County Road North was particularly bad, with Europe's biggest fair in town.
"There was a six-week period in the summer when rush hour wasn't so bad. That would have been the ideal time."
Mr Marsh admits it has been difficult explaining to customers why the taxis have been running late.
He said: "Customers don't factor in the roadworks and find it difficult to accept when we don't run on time.
"Sometimes, we also have to go the long way around, which can increase the fare.
"We have a feedback system and, when customers have complained about us running late, it has almost always been in the areas where there are roadworks.
"It has been very frustrating for us.
"The last thing we want to do is lose customers because we can't get there on time."
Some of the work is being carried out by the council and others by utility companies.
Roadworks in Hull
• Alliance Avenue: Until October 31
• Bricknell Avenue: Until November 30
• The Broadway: Until October 31
• Chanterlands Avenue: Until November 30
• Cheltenham Avenue: Until November 30. Road closed
• Holderness Road: Until November 5
• Park Street: Until November 15. Partial road closure
• Spring Bank West: Until November 30
• Wilton Street: Until November 5. Road closed
But it is not just taxi firms. Every Hull motorist and visitor to the city is falling foul of the dug-up roads.
Anthony Postill, of Clough Road, north Hull, said: "The authorities have done too much at once.
"They should have done a certain amount at one time.
"It's causing chaos as everyone tries to find other routes.
"It takes so much longer to get around.
"It also causes more aggressive driving, with people carrying out stupid manoeuvres."
Joanne Kay, 51, of east Hull, says driving through Hull has been a major headache.
"It has been a nightmare," she said.
"It has been taking me 20 minutes longer to get into the centre.
"The roadworks should have been spaced out and done during the summer."
Louise Wilson, 29, of west Hull, has experienced similar problems. She said: "It is a real problem getting around.
"It has been particularly bad with Hull Fair also here.
"I was stuck in Chanterlands Avenue for 40 minutes.
"Everyone is in the same boat and it is making people very irate.
"But we know it's happening and you just have to give yourself that extra bit of time."
Businesses have also suffered.
Shops have been directly affected by road closures but other businesses have also been hit by the problems.
Hannah Crookes, external affairs manager at Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, said: "We understand the roadworks across Hull have been necessary but we are aware it has created some difficulties with commuting in particular being affected.
"West Hull was particularly badly affected, which was compounded by Hull Fair.
"It is positive to see the situation has been relieved some what with the reopening of County Road North, which will take pressures off other roads.
"We need to ensure commuters and deliveries, for example, are not adversely affected and appropriate diversions and co-ordination with other roadworks is essential."
The council maintains it is carrying out the extensive repairs programme now before the onset of winter weather that could cause severe delays.
Graham Hall, assistant head of service for transport, said: "We apologise for the delays and frustrations caused to drivers while the roadworks have been carried out.
"These essential works need to be completed to ensure Hull's highways network is maintained before the onset of winter and darker nights and to also make the best use of the funding available.
"We always try to plan ahead with roadworks and work closely with our utilities partners and neighbouring authorities but there are times when urgent repairs are needed to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians."
But Mr Hall also feels other factors outside the council's control have exacerbated the situation.
He said: "There were other factors that added to the length of drivers journeys. That included road traffic accidents, level crossing failure and a large fire.
"We changed the timings to traffic signals and ensured parking restrictions were in force to try and ease the flow of traffic.
"We will reflect on the past few weeks and look to see if any further improvements can be made to the planning process."
Addressing the backlog of repairs
The council's portfolio holder for transport Councillor Martin Mancey says he understands the problems faced by road users at peak times.
He also says the closure of County Road North could not have been carried out in the summer as other utility works concerning electricity supply upgrades took precedence.
As a result, Cllr Mancey ensured the works were accelerated and the seven-week period for them has been cut to just three.
He said: "I am pleased to announce the council is on track to complete a strengthened programme of essential road works this year."
Cllr Mancey believes road repairs were neglected under the last administration, which is why so many are needed now.
"We are addressing the backlog of repairs that lengthened under the Lib Dems because they refused to spend money on our roads, even though at the time they had more than enough money to do so," he said.
"It takes courage and determination to address the problems of our road network by undertaking proper long-term value for money repairs."