Fed-up drivers have described a near 40-mile diversion during Horncastle’s £7m road improvement programme as ‘ludicrous’ and a ‘complete waste of time and money’.
The first night-time closure of the A158 in Horncastle will take place this Friday (October 19).
Instead of the normal ten mile journey from Wragby to Horncastle along the A158, vehicles will have to travel almost 20 miles on the A157 from Wragby to Louth, then onto the A16 Louth bypass before covering another near-20 mile route on the A153 from Louth to Horncastle.
The closures will be in place from around 7pm to 6am, although it is not clear how many nights they will last.
Horncastle resident Andrew Taylor said: “Does the county council seriously expect people to drive almost 40 miles when there are numerous shortcuts available?
“Why go to all the time and expense to come out with a ludicrous diversion like this when very few people will take any notice.
“How much is this costing? The manpower, the signs...it’s a ridiculous waste of money.”
The county council is warning to expect up to a week of night-time works from Monday (October 22) to Friday (October 26).
In a statement, the council adds that:
•Depending on weather and progress made on-site, two additional nights of work may be required on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October.
• Permanent two-way temporary traffic signals on the A158, along with road closures on West Street and the B1191 Langton Hill, will remain in place as improvement works continue in the daytime.
Details of the diversion - and the closures - were first revealed by Highways officials Steve Crooks and Matt Fox at a meeting of Horncastle Town Council last Tuesday.
Mr Fox explained: “We always said we would have to close the A158.
“The diversion unfortunately is very extensive - via Wragby and Louth. It’s approximately 40 miles.”
Mr Fox went on to explain that regulations meant closing an A-road meant a diversion had to be along the same category route.
He added: “They are simply elements that cannot be done (without closing the road). There is no other solution. This will probably be the biggest disruption (during the works).”
The closure of the A158 will allow resurfacing on the A158 to be completed.
It will also mark the end of another phase of a £7m programme which started with ‘re-building’ of West Street.
However, a complete re-opening still depends on Anglian Water completing work on Langton Hill (the main road between Horncastle and Woodhall Spa) at the same time as the A158.
There has been widespread criticism of the improvements and Mr Fox and Mr Brooks faced some hostile comments from councillors and members of the public at the town council meeting,
•More on this story in next week’s News.