Highways England have admitted congestion caused by roadworks on the A1 slip road at the Haddon services was ‘worse than expected.’
The works, which started on Friday and are set to last until Friday, June 30, have caused long delays across the city this week.
Hospital staff have been late for work, every bus route in the city suffered delays, school pupils missed exams, shops were forced to open late as staff could not get to work on time and hundreds of motorists were left stuck for hours in miles of congestion on the hottest week of the year.
A spokesman for Highways England, who are carrying out the works, apologised, and said the traffic congestion caused by the works had been far greater than expected.
The spokesman said: “We are continually monitoring traffic conditions during the essential work we are carrying out on the A1(M) near Peterborough and would like to apologise to drivers for disruption they are experiencing.
“We are doing all we can to keep traffic flowing and keep drivers up to date.
“The vital work, which includes the reconstruction of the carriageway, renewal of the road markings, improvements of the drainage system and installation of traffic sensors to help monitor traffic flows more accurately, started on Friday, June 16 and is running to schedule. We expect to reopen the junction 17 slip road next Friday, with other work completing in August.
“This is the most comprehensive maintenance this part of the A1(M) has had since it was first built, and will restore the road ‘as new’ condition, minimising the need for future maintenance.”
The works were originally planned for May, but were delayed - and Highways England failed to inform the Peterborough Telegraph about when the 24/7 closures would be put in place.
The spokesman also said they failed to consult with bus operator Stagecoach.
The spokesman said: “We work hard to keep people informed of possible disruption on our road network so they can plan ahead. Clearly though this work has caught some drivers by surprise. We are sorry for the disruption people have experienced and will learn any lessons we can to find ways we can improve in the future.
“It is fair to say that delays on Monday were worse than expected. It can be difficult to accurately predict the full impact of a closure on traffic, especially if it is a section of road that is not closed very often (this is the most extensive maintenance carried out on these slip roads since they were first built).
“We plan our work carefully to minimise disruption to road users as much possible but closing roads to carry out work safely is sometimes unavoidable - as for the work on the entry slip road at junction 17 on the southbound A1(M).”
Highways England said works were being carried out 24 hours a day despite reports from residents that they had driven past and had not seen workmen at the site.
He said: “We are working 24/7 on these improvements. The majority of the work on the sliproad at junction 17 of the A1(M) is being carried out during the day with some night time working. Even when we are not working on the slip road itself, we may be working on the main carriageway just beyond it – it is for this reason that the slip road needs to remain closed until the full rebuild has been completed on 30 June.
“We have so far taken up the old road surfacing down to its maximum depth of 600mm, and are reconstructing it in sections. We are making good progress, despite the hot weather increasing the time it takes the asphalt to cool.”