Engineers are taking action to prevent a repeat of last week’s gridlock in Melton caused by an issue with the town’s traffic lights.
Exasperated motorists were stuck in long tail backs on Wednesday from early afternoon until late evening with some people having to cancel their plans for the evening.
The problem was created by a BT failure which left the Leicester-based traffic controllers unable to regulate the flow of traffic at peak periods of the day.
The city council team, which controls traffic in Melton, say they were temporarily unable to communicate with the system, which can allow vehicles through at different rates depending on how many are queuing at different junctions in the town centre.
The plan now is to load default settings into the lights at key junctions, such as those at Wilton Road/Asfordby Road/Nottingham Road and Norman Way/Thorpe Road/Saxby Road/Thorpe End so they will allow sufficient numbers of vehicles through at peak times.
Jayesh Parmar, traffic management manager for the council, told the Melton Times: “Unfortunately, we lost communications with the system on Wednesday and we were unable to override the settings for each junction.
“We have CCTV screens showing the busy junctions in Melton and we can see real time pictures of traffic flows in various parts of the town.
“We weren’t able to change the flow to allow more vehicles through at the busier junctions.
“I have now asked my engineers to load the traffic controllers with settings for the average traffic flows at peak periods so it will allow enough vehicles through if we lose communications again.”
During peak times, such as weekday rush hours and Tuesday market days, the traffic lights in Melton town will now be set to change every two minutes.
The controllers have the ability to reduce those waiting times when traffic flow is less in certain parts of the town.
The flow is co-ordinated, though, so vehicles can move smoothly through junctions which are close together.
Traffic has been known to flow quicker when the traffic lights go down but Mr Parmar said his team would never turn all the lights off if there is a problem adjusting the flow.
He added: “If the lights were turned off and you had a driver who was not confident it would probably result in long delays because they would be nervous about turning on to busy roads.
“We have to think about pedestrian safety too as they wouldn’t be able to safely cross the road if traffic was flowing constantly.”
Readers caught up in Wednesday’s traffic jams have been telling us about it on Facebook.
Awais Rehman commented: “I had to wait to get from Brownlow School to Sainsburys for about two hours and it normally takes 10 minutes.”
Beverley Bloomfield posted: “Took me an hour to get from Twin Lakes turn on Thorpe Road to Noels Arms Burton Street.”
And Austin Ruddy said it took him 45 minutes to get from the Thorpe Road/Norman Way crossroads to the Wilton Road/Asfordby Road crossroads.
Some residents had to cancel their plans for the night, including one couple who contacted us to say they could not get to their wedding anniversary trip to an opera performance in Nottingham because of the gridlock.