A ‘nightmare’ new one-way system in the centre of Accrington has been blamed for bringing ‘chaos on the streets’.
Drivers claim the changes have resulted in cars heading the wrong way down one-way streets and some drivers ignoring the changes completely.
One driver described the situation as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.
It appears one frustrated retailer or resident has even resorted to putting their own hand written sign to tell drivers which way to go.
Roads bosses say the changes have been made to improve access to the town’s new bus station.
Blackburn Road in the centre of Accrington is now one-way, and the direction of St James Street has been reversed, meaning all traffic from Union Street and Cannon Street is channelled towards Paradise Street and Eagle Street.
A spokesperson for Aw-Rite Petal florists on Blackburn Road said the new layout - also aimed to help boost trade - is causing havoc for their business.
They said: “I’ve seen people trying to come down the one-way road and other people refusing to move and it coming to a standstill.
“Since it’s been introduced it’s just chaos on the streets.
“It’s not helping trade, it’s taking it away and it’s really hard to get parked for deliveries.
“It’s making it really hard work for the businesses on the road to get new customers coming in. And further up it’s havoc because people can’t turn left or right. It’s caused an absolute nightmare in the centre.”
Regular town centre commuter Paul Murray fell foul of the new system, and drove northwards down St James Street, unaware of the change of direction.
Paul, of Water Street in Accrington, said: “Whilst I was there another motorist came over to me and advised that she had just done exactly the same as me. It’s absolutely crazy.
“No one knew anything about it. They’re just asking for a crash.”
Paul added: “There is a no-right turn sign, not easily visible, next to some roadwork barriers but this gives the impression that the barriers have just been pulled to one side and the road is open as normal. It’s just causing chaos with the road system now.”
Lancashire County Council (LCC) said that Hyndburn council had carried out public information events, and there were signs out to let people know about the changes - which they will review over the next six months.
Rishton resident Ian Kitchin condemned the ‘farcical nature’ of the new system at the junction of Union Road and Blackburn Road - branding it as the “realm of Bertie Wooster”.
He said: “This beggars belief. We saw four cars along Blackburn road running against the traffic flow.
“Had there been an accident the county council would have been in an embarrassing position.”
LCC believe the sign was the work of a ‘frustrated’ local resident to reinforce the one-way system after the barriers on Blackburn Road had been repeatedly moved to allow two-way traffic.
Highways bosses say the new scheme will be monitored for the next six months before being reviewed.
Dwayne Lowe, the LCC highways manager for Hyndburn, said: “We’ve worked with Hyndburn council and the local Chamber of Trade to agree a number of changes to the way traffic is managed in central Accrington, which include switching the direction of some one-way streets, and making changes to parking restrictions and taxi stands.
“This is intended to make it easier for Hyndburn council to hold events and make improvements to the heritage area near the town hall and market hall and improve access to the bus station in its new location.”
He added that signs had been put up alerting people to the new road layout.
Mr Lowe said: “The changes were introduced on Sunday, June 5, using an experimental traffic order, which allows us to monitor the way they’re working and make adjustments if necessary over the next six months before deciding whether to confirm the order in 18 months’ time.
“However, a number of drivers continued to follow their normal routine, and we reinforced the warnings on Monday with extra signage and barriers.
“The new traffic management system means that drivers emerging from Broadway should now go straight ahead onto St James Street.
“Even if people miss or ignore the one-way signs, the temporary roadworks in place on Blackburn Road should in any case discourage people from turning right.
“But some people have been driving around the barriers instead of following the one-way system as they should.
“We would encourage people who haven’t driven in this area since the priorities have changed to take extra care and follow the signs in place.
“We’re continuing to monitor the situation in case we need to take further action to reinforce the new traffic regulations.”
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said: “The major issue is people have been used over many years to going a certain way but the important thing is to pay attention to the road signs to make sure that there are no accidents.”