DISGRUNTLED residents have said a lack of planning has resulted in road chaos as road works brings traffic in the centre of Calne to a halt.

Since last Tuesday (August 28), drivers driving through Calne via The Strand have had delays of up to an hour thanks to temporary traffic lights as work is done to upgrade pipe works.

The work, which is being carried out by Wales & West Utilities, is expected to last until September 24, and residents are angry that the upgrade is taking place as children go back to school, resulting in even more traffic delays.

Marie Pawelek Jacobs, who works in Devizes but lives in Calne, said: "I have no choice but to go through this mess.

"A drive that normally takes me 20 minutes has turned into sometimes up to an hour."

Susan Dunn, who lives next to the road works said: "We saw an ambulance stuck the other day as it had no way to get through the traffic as no one could move out of it's way.

Leslie Norris, who also lives in Calne added: "I understand work needs to be done, but with children starting back at school this week it is only going to get worse."

Kirsa Edwards said: "Appreciate that works needs to be done but they appeared with little notice and I'm unsure why it had to be done while the schools are back making the situation far worse."

Responding to comments from residents, Wales & West Utilities programme controller for Wiltshire, Mick Gallavin, said: "We’re working in The Strand area of Calne to upgrade old metal gas pipes to new plastic ones. This is essential to keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future.

“We started work in the area last week (28 August) and barring any unforeseen circumstances, our work will be finished by 24 September.

"In agreement with Wiltshire Council, and so the local community, road users and our colleagues are safe while we work, multi-way traffic lights will be in place at The Strand, with lights on to Church Street, new Road, Coxs Hill and Curzon Street.

"We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential. We work hard to keep the disruption to communities we’re working in to a minimum. Where possible, we try and work during summer holidays and off-peak times and seasons but as we upgrade more than 400km of pipes every year this is not always possible.

“Our team will be working as safely and as quickly as possible to finish this job and keep disruption to a minimum. We really appreciate the patience of the local community while we do this essential work.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council, said: “We always try and schedule utility company work requests at the most appropriate time possible, but the logistics of this can be challenging. This particular work wasn’t able to be scheduled in the bulk of the school summer holiday as the company were carrying out other important works elsewhere in Wiltshire. We apologise for any disruption caused while the company carry out this essential work.”