INCENSED drivers are complaining of long delays following the closure of the Watkinson Way link to the Silver Jubilee bridge.

A diversion opened on Monday but has left motorists facing huge tail backs of traffic.

Andrew Swindells, from Widnes, who works in Daresbury, said: “The knock on effects are adding up to four hours a day for anybody who works across the river.

“It usually takes me 20 minutes to get to work. On Tuesday it took me an hour and 20 minutes to get home.

“My concern is that people are tired coming out of work. We will end up with serious road rage, people are just so frustrated.”

He said most drivers understand diversions are necessary to build the new bridge but believes better planning should have been put into place.

He added: “Given that they have had a year to work out this diversion they should have put a better infrastructure into West Bank to cope with the flow of traffic.

“I have tried to ask Mersey Gateway to re-think the diversion. In particular, the traffic light priorities but they are unwilling.”

Hugh O’Connor, general manager at Merseylink, said that while the closures were causing delays, it is vital work, and essential to allow traffic to access the new bridge when it opens this autumn.

He said: “We are aware that there have been delays as the new diversion route has been introduced and understand that this can be very frustrating for motorists.

“The existing infrastructure, although passable, does not have the capacity to enable diverted traffic to flow freely through the area at peak times as the diversion route only affords a single lane in each direction. Unfortunately, there is no alternative, and we apologise for the inconvenience during these times.

“This closure had originally been planned to be introduced much earlier in April 2016, but following adjustment of construction schedules we were able to delay this for a year, ensuring motorists were affected for the absolute minimum amount of time required.

“Our teams are continuing to actively monitor traffic, signal timings and to do everything we can to minimise the disruption. But our advice to people is to try and find an alternative route where possible.”

The signed diversion route takes traffic travelling between the Widnes eastern bypass and the Silver Jubilee bridge via the new Widnes Loops roundabout, Hutchinson Street and Wandsworth Way which is now two way. This configuration will be in place until the new bridge opens.