Darlington Roadworks: Businesses Lose Customers and Residents Affected by Woodland Road

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Residents and businesses again attacked roadworks, causing traffic chaos in Darlington, with one business saying it was forcing customers to turn back.

The roadworks were recently criticized by locals on social media, with one person saying the council had “dug up all the roads at once”.

Almost all major roads in the city are under construction, including Woodland Road and the A167 at Beaumont Hill.

Road works in the forest Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT

Councilors argued that now is the ‘best time to do this’ as it ‘doesn’t affect traffic hugely as it would when schools are open’.

However, locals wonder if there are “any roads in Darlington left open to motorists”.

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Darlington-based business The Pasta Shop says ongoing work on Woodland Road has been an “absolute shambles” and many customers have been forced to turn back.

L'Écho du Nord: road works on the logging road Photo: SARAH CALDECOTTRoad works in the forest Photo: SARAH CALDECOTT

A company staff member pointed out that there were several near-misses, two accidents and one fatality due to the chaos.

Adds: “Who is looking at these workers? Why is it taking so long? First, they remove all islands and low beams without a safe alternative.

“This road is already plagued by lorries and noise pollution from the emergency services. God only knows why they didn’t complete it section by section instead of zigzagging down the road. Now they’re digging parts of it!’

Roadworks are expected to continue on Outram Street and Duke Street, which The Pasta Shop says will only create more “disruption for the public and, more importantly, for local businesses”.

Echo of the North:

They added: ‘On our section of Woodland Road we were told at the end of March that pavement renewal work outside the shops would start so we closed that week.

“When we came back after a week of closure, the work hadn’t even started. Pass in May and work begins on the sidewalk.

“Which was left unfinished for 2 weeks and not completed until we complained to council. These are very difficult times for businesses and things like this don’t help.

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“Why couldn’t the works have been carried out when during lockdown in 2020 when construction was still allowed to start?”

Echo of the North:

Another Darlington resident hit out and the works as well, arguing that it’s ‘very difficult to get through’ because of all the delays.

Tony Hull, who lives on Whinfield Road, added: ‘I agree the road works should be done, but there is a limit to what they should do.

“The main problem people are attacking the council for at the moment is that it is causing a lot of traffic problems.

“Whatever road you take when you encounter road works or otherwise road works, a closed road.”

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Mr Hull drives a HGV and pointed out that it is too narrow to get off.

He said: “I’m in a massive vehicle and the cones are really tight and it’s a nightmare.”

“I understand that cyclists feel safe with the lanes and they are building more of them, so you can guarantee there will be road works there as well.

“I’m fine with security, but it has to be agreed by both parties.”

He went on to point out that he also had a big problem with cyclists, arguing that some “don’t obey the rules of the road”.

He added: “A lot of cyclists out there are following the rules, but I saw a couple of them running red lights.

“It’s not just cyclists and motorists, it’s the whole way this country is changing, everyone is looked after.”

The council is also not looking at the bigger picture, Mr Hull continued, saying they are closing a main road and finding they need to carry out work on another main road nearby.

He added: “You can yell at the council all you want, but they won’t back down, they’ll just do it and make every excuse they can.

“I agree that during the holidays is the best time to do it, but plan it better.

“If you start doing road works at the same time, you are sure to have problems.

“I find it infuriating, really, they don’t take care of the roads anyway.”

Andy Keir, Darlington Council Cabinet Member for Local Services, said: “We have entered the final stage of work on Woodland Road which involves 11 night shifts, to minimize disruption, to complete the resurfacing of the carriageway and the bike path.

“There is a cluster of lights on during the day as we complete work near the Hollyhurst Road junction with all pedestrian crossing points now open.

“We thank everyone for their collaboration and patience during this work on one of the major axes of the city.”

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