ROADWORKS and temporary lights have caused long delays and huge frustration around a busy junction in Newton-le-Willows.

In mid-October, roadworks began around the Mill Lane and Southworth Road junction, not far from Newton's busy railway station and high street.

With temporary lights in place for weeks, the works are intended to improve road infrastructure around Newton in preparation for the multi-million pound Parkside project and its link road from the M6.

READ > Teenagers suspected of criminal damage costing hundreds of pounds

Why are the roadworks in place?

St Helens Star: The upgrades are intended to improve road infrastructure for ParksideThe upgrades are intended to improve road infrastructure for Parkside (Image: St Helens Council)
Although the new link road will provide direct access from the motorway, which is of particular importance for HGVs, it is expected that traffic will also increase around Newton as the project promises hundreds of new jobs.

This is why road improvements are being made, which include a dedicated left-hand turn on Mill Lane, as well as improvements to the right-hand turn lane and upgrades to the traffic lights.

Temporary lights are in operation for the majority of the works, which are expected to continue until early December, with work then set to begin around the Southworth Road and Parkside Road junction in January 2024.

Delays causing huge frustrations

St Helens Star: Traffic often backs up along Mill Lane past Newton-le-Willows stationTraffic often backs up along Mill Lane past Newton-le-Willows station (Image: Contributed)
Although the Parkside link road was scheduled for completion by the end of this year, this has since been pushed back until next Spring, with the expected completion of the whole project estimated at the end of 2024.

With delays to the regeneration project, residents around Newton have grown increasingly frustrated about the roadworks that have been present for weeks at one of the town's busiest junctions.

On social media, countless residents have aired their frustration as they say they have been constantly made late for work, school, or appointments.

At busy periods, residents have reported that the junction has caused long traffic delays, affecting journeys towards Winwick, Lowton, Haydock, and Golborne.

Roadworks causing 'perfect storm' for traffic

St Helens Star: Many residents have aired frustration on social mediaMany residents have aired frustration on social media (Image: Contributed)
Stuart Mann, who has echoed the sentiment of many disgruntled residents on social media, said: "I think the simultaneous occurrence of multiple roadworks - most of which are Parkside related - have created pretty much the perfect storm for traffic.

"You have traffic restrictions and lights on Winwick Lane due to the Parkside works and have narrow lanes on the A49 by the Parkside entrance whilst they work on that junction.

"Then you have the Church Street, Mill Lane, and Southworth Road junction works with three-way lights, [and] come January there will be even more works for Parkside.

"There have been queues from the Vulcan back to Winwick Church, queues from Mill Lane back to Winwick church, queues from Lane head back along Winwick Lane to J22, and queues from the Parkside road junction with Southworth Road all the way back to Hermitage Green.

"With the M6 smart motorway works, additional commuters are using the A49 through Newton to avoid the motorway queues too.

"The Hope academy school bus from Winwick is now taking 30 minutes longer than usual to get there, meaning upwards of 90 kids are consistently late for class, five days a week, and yesterday an ambulance had to drive on the wrong side of Winwick Lane to Lane head for about two miles.

"Also, the timings on the lights at Mill Lane and Southworth Road [seem to] have very different timings, meaning the queue back along Newton High Street is substantially shorter than the others.

"It is a real pain and you have to consider the actual Parkside development hasn’t even started yet, and there’s a planning application in for more homes not too far away."

Long-term benefits of Parkside 'outweigh short term inconveniences'

St Helens Star: Newton East councillor, Cllr Seve Gomez-AspronNewton East councillor, Cllr Seve Gomez-Aspron (Image: Cllr Gomez-Aspron)
In a previous statement, Newton East councillor and cabinet member of strategic transport, Seve Gomez-Aspron, said: “Once up and running, Parkside will be a hive of economic activity, so the purpose of these works is to improve our local infrastructure and accommodate workers travelling to and from employment generated by the development.  

"The long-term benefits this scheme will bring certainly outweigh short-term inconveniences of road works which the council will look to keep disruption to a minimum as we strive to unlock the huge potential of the Parkside site which has lay derelict for far too long, bringing much needed jobs to the area.

"[This is] all while achieving one of our top priorities as a council of creating a well-connected, accessible transport network across the borough which supports economic growth."