Driving in Derby rush-hour is like riding an 'almost perfect storm'
The daily commute into Derby is becoming tortuous, as reporter Chris Jones discovers.
WHEN I was finally through the worst of it, there were deep grooves left in the steering wheel, carved by my own fingernails.
Half an hour it had taken to get from one end of Kedleston Road to the other.
Normally, I walk to work but, with the growing traffic problems plaguing Derby city centre during rush hours, I thought I would see for myself how bad the commute was.
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I headed out early to some of the trouble spots to see how busy things would get.
My morning started just after 7.30am, heading out from Chester Green.
It took about 10 minutes to work my way via Corporation Street, where I guessed there would be queues already, to the Cockpit, hang a right and head along Traffic Street, through Lara Croft Way and into Burton Road.
Maybe things weren't so bad after all. What was everyone moaning about? Just sweet green lights and clear roads.
But I had heard terrible things about the whole Kingsway/ring road area so I made straight for it.
True, I might have been a bit early for the real problems but it was already getting crowded, the road works down Manor Road squeezing lanes of cars together, congesting like a blocked artery.
I eased my way along and headed towards Markeaton Island, scene of many a rush-hour shunt and a magnet for traffic.
For my money, if there is one roundabout in Derby which would be better served by traffic lights, it would be this one.
The argument against this, though, is currently self-evident – at the moment it is light-controlled, with roadworks on the edge of the island and, until days ago, further digging on the A52 heading past Mackworth.
But, rather than helping traffic flow, these temporary lights are causing queues which spiral out down the A38 and Ashbourne Road.
It was down this road, heading into Derby, I drove next. The clock read 8.15am.
The next quarter of an hour saw me make slow progress along Bridge, Agard and Ford Streets, before hitting what for many drivers at the moment is the mother lode – the temporary traffic lights controlling the flow of traffic feeding on to St Alkmund's Way.
Well, I say temporary – these guys are here until June.
The wave of disruption these lights set rolling reaches right back down the roads I had travelled, all the way back to Markeaton Island, which, as I've said, has its own problems.
I made it through here and took a circuitous route to end up, at 8.45am, out on Kedleston Road, at the end of Broadway.
Here I was introduced, with little in the way of pleasantries, to traffic. It streamed ahead of me as far as I could see and was simply not moving. When it did creep forward, it was a distance on the molecular scale.
So, half an hour slid slowly by and we made it to Five Lamps by 9.15am, a distance I could have walked in about a fifth of that time.
I had traffic reports on the radio and heard quite clearly that the roads I had whizzed through earlier were all looking similar to this.
The problems are several-fold and compound. The roadworks on St Alkmund's Way, at Markeaton Island and around Kingsway are all separate but cause knock- on effects which, at rush-hour, simply flow into one another.
It is an almost perfect storm which is hard to see easing until one or more of the works are finished up.