MOTORISTS are facing months of travel chaos in Doncaster with a series of roadworks set to gridlock the town centre.
Doncaster Council has closed three lanes around Cleveland Street and Trafford Way until the end of July for gas main renewal work.
The news comes as the authority was handed new powers to help co-ordinate roadworks and fine contractors who flout council guidelines.
Mayor Peter Davies said he was trying to minimise disruption and that traffic problems were because of decisions made before he came to power.
Market traders have criticised the latest disruption but council and business bosses said the work would bring longterm benefits.
Former councillor and stallholder Mick Maye said: “They always seem to be digging roads up and there’s never any sense of urgency.
“If this drives customers away and makes people think twice about coming into town that’s it, once people have found somewhere else to shop, you’ve lost them.”
Mr Maye said he would welcome more forward planning regarding when to carry out repairs and wanted contractors to work through the night to minimise delays.
Part of Trafford Way from the Cleveland Street roundabout to the railway station and bus interchange will be closed between 6am and 7pm until July 31.
A lane of the Balby flyover to the junction of St Sepulchre Gate West between will also be closed between the same times for four months.
Other closures include a lane between junction three of the M18 and White Rose Way between 9.30am and 5pm until the end of June.
There are currently 222 roadworks taking place across the borough, according to the council.
Mr Davies said: “When utilities works such as these gas renewals need doing there’s not much we can do about it.
“If there is a danger of a gas leak it’s not down to us to say no you can’t do the work.
“I am trying as hard as I can to solve traffic problems in the town by implementing measures like extending bus lanes but I am getting objections from others to everything I am trying to do.
“A lot of the traffic problems in Doncaster stem from policies of previous administrations that I am trying to put right.”
Peter Dale, the council’s director of regeneration and environment, said there was times when roadworks had to take place at the same time because of funding.
He added: “In the case of National Grid’s works to upgrade the gas mains, this needs to take place during the summer when gas usage is low.”
Mr Dale said the council would try to ensure to works were completed “as quickly as possible” and wherever possible would be carried out off-peak.
He asked motorists to be patient and apologised for any inconveience.
Dan Fell, deputy chief executive of Doncaster Chamber said: “It is critical for Doncaster businesses that such maintenance and development work takes place to ensure we have the right infrastructure to support all modes of transport; thus supporting the local economy and job creation.”