A stretch of the B530 undergoing essential roadworks has been temporarily reopened to ease traffic problems at the Interchange Retail Park in Kempston.
Yesterday, visitors leaving the Interchange car park faced misery, with lengthy delays just to get out of the car park.
The closure of the B530, coupled with emergency repairs to Cow Bridge on Ampthill Road and confusion over diversion signage seems to have created the ‘perfect storm’ of conditions.
Alice Gadney spent over three hours attempting to leave the Range car park, moving just six metres during that time.
Louise Fulk, who was trapped for two hours after popping out to visit one shop, told the Bedford Independent yesterday, “The main issue I think was that a lot of people were unaware that the main road into Ampthill was closed/diverted so they had to go back around the roundabout for the diversion.
“This was then mixing with traffic entering the ‘usual’ way in to the retail park – turn left at the mini roundabout in to the main car park- however that road was also closed!
“So then cars were going around that roundabout into the other car park (by The Range/Dreams) but that was full too and gridlocked.
“Also, I did not realise they had opened the new road in to the retail car park so I imagine a lot of people were also not aware.
“All around it was just a disaster. Cars trapped and no one had a clue. There were also people queue jumping and cutting up… lots of angry drivers there today.”
A Borough Council spokesperson said: “The B530 has been reopened following severe traffic disruption yesterday.
“This was caused by congestion at the Interchange Retail Park together with emergency work to railings at Cow Bridge and confusion caused by signage in works to rebuild a stretch of the B530 near Kempston Hardwick.
“Bedford Borough Council worked with the contractor overnight to make the road safe and reopen it, with temporary traffic lights in place where work had already begun.
“We apologise for the inconvenience caused and the road will not be closed for further works until all issues are resolved.
“The closure will only resume when we are confident that the contractor has in place all necessary measures to prevent the levels of disruption seen at the Interchange Retail Park yesterday.”
In an additional twist, Highways England had scheduled road works planned for 8pm on the A421 yesterday evening, between the Marsh Leys junction and the A6, with a diversion passing the B530.
Bedfordshire Police liaised with Highways England to ensure the heavy traffic had eased before going ahead with the A421 closure.