Tavistock’s main roads are set to experience heavy traffic for up to a week following the introduction of two sets of temporary traffic lights.

Three-way temporary traffic lights were implemented at the statute of Sir Francis Drake on Plymouth Road yesterday and now sit in addition to the three way set of temporary lights on Whitchurch Road near Abbey Bridge. Wales and West Utilities are conducting these works to ‘trace and repair gas escape and permanently reinstate where possible’ according to the works description on Devon County Council’s website. The county council said these works were put in place after an immediate emergency works permit was granted. The roadworks are set to be in place here until Wednesday, September 28.

Western Power Distribution are responsible for the lights based on Whitchurch Road. According to the works statement of Devon County Council’s website, this is to rectify two joint holes in the tarmac on the road and grass verge for HV cable diversion. Although originally scheduled to have finished yesterday (September 21) these lights are still in place, with no update having been issued as to when works will be completed.

With both sets of lights currently in place, some commuters and road users experienced serious delays travelling through the town this morning, with some drivers saying it took them over one hour to travel from one side of the town to the other before 9am. These delays are predicted to continue for the length of time the temporary lights are in place.

Devon county councillor for Tavistock and Gulworthy Debo Sellis said: ‘As fellow resident of Tavistock, I too am affected by any delays. Although I walk into town frequently I still have to use my car sometimes and I share everyone’s frustrations but the reality is that we live in an ancient market town located on a busy crossroads and no matter where we go, if we have to go across town we will be affected when maintenance work has to be done. Unfortunately this is a simple fact that we will all be inconvenienced.

‘Devon County Council officers do try to coordinate with utility servcies to minimise disruption as has been demonstrated with the Crowndale works recently. Our cooperation meant works there opened a week earlier than estimated. In an ancient market town we are impacted by 21st century life on a 15th century road infrastructure - it’s just impossible not to be affected. I hope very much these works can be conducted as quickly and effectively as possible.’