MORE than nine out of 10 people from Swindon who responded to a survey on roadworks on the Adver’s website have had to change their routine to avoid delays.

A survey hosted on the site on behalf of borough councillor Jim Robbins has attracted more than 85 responses so far.

As chairman of Swindon Borough Council’s scrutiny committee, Coun Robbins wanted to get the experiences and views of as many people as possible in order to inform the local authority's highways department.

Multi-million pound projects at Mead Way, the White Hart Roundabout and the Moonrakers junction have all been delayed, with only the latter completed.

The survey will stay open until the end of September – but an interim analysis of results so far show a clear picture.

Of the 83 who responded, 77 (92.7 per cent) say they have had to change their daily routine, such as leaving for work or school earlier in the morning, or leaving for home earlier or later in the evening because of roadworks. Only six people (7.2 per cent) said they had not.

 Nearly three-quarters – 62 people representing 74.6 per cent – said they had been late for or even missed appointments or events because of the works, with 21 people saying they had been unaffected.

Another huge proportion of those who filled in the survey say all or most of their journeys in town have been affected. Those who say every journey was affected make up 45 per cent of the total – the single largest portion – and those who say most journeys were impacted 44 per cent, adding up to 89 per cent. Just seven people (8.4 per cent) say some journeys were affected while one person said none have been made slower or more difficult by roadworks.

More than 15 per cent of the 83 respondents said they owned a business which has been impacted by roadworks.

The comments left by those competing the survey show the frustration many feel as deadlines at the White Hart roundabout and Mead Way are missed.

Helen Tate, who drives in from Faringdon. said: “Every journey from Faringdon to Swindon has been affected. Recently I’ve had to come in via Highworth because the A420 is so bad, and even that is a bad journey.

“I travel to West Swindon, so I’m affected by both the roadworks at Gablecross and Mead Way. It’s just awful. I hate driving in Swindon now and I’ve lived there most of my life. It’s never been this bad before.”

Richard Ware is a delivery driver and said: “It has caused a lot of anxiety and dread. I work for a supermarket, and it has impacted our drivers and customers relentlessly for over a year.

“It has had a very negative impact on my mental health, some days I could barely face going to work, running late, worrying about how many times I’d have to ‘cross the Moonies’ or how many times I’d have to cleverly adjust my route to try and avoid the worst of it.”

Serviceman Neil Robinson said: “It's turning into a real mission to get to work lately and I am having to set off ridiculously early."

Phelan Spencer added: “I lose 20 minutes a day but that’s nearly two hours a week. Two hours I’m not spending with my family.”

Once the survey closes the responses will be sent to Coun Robbins to be included in a report to the scrutiny committee – which is holding a special roadworks-themed meeting on October 18.

Coun Robbins said: “I want to thank all of the Adver readers for taking the time to get in touch and share their frustrations and stories about how the shocking situation with roadworks in Swindon has affected them.

“It makes sobering reading. I’ll make sure that these experiences are fed into the report for the upcoming scrutiny meeting  where we will put them to the cabinet and demand answers on why the council lost control of roadworks in the town and how they are going to fix the situation.

“It’s clear the delays and have had huge impacts on residents with people having to change their plans, leave much earlier and deal with missed appointments. I really feel for the businesses in the town who are seeing their trade affected by the roadworks as well as trying to recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

The effect on businesses

Businesses as diverse as shops, podiatrists, decorators and delivery firms say they have all been affected by the roadworks currently ongoing in several points across Swindon.

Of the 83 responses made so far to the roadworks survey hosted by the Adver, 13 came from people who own businesses and said they had been affected.

Andrew Ruff is a delivery driver operating across the borough. He said: “The amount of diversions in place and potholes that haven’t been repaired is a joke. I have done multi-drops in loads of different areas and this is by far the worst.”

Mr Ruff said the roads had also caused damage to his work vehicle: “I have nearly replaced the whole front suspension and drive shafts on my van.”

Michelle Winslow visits people at their home to give podiatric care. She said: “For the last year or more I feel my days are consumed with trying to remember which roads are shut where are the news roadworks etc and even when I remember there’s always another road either shut or with temporary traffic lights.

My timings are off by constantly being diverted or held up and my fuel consumption has increased majorly.”

Clint Ricketts runs a motor industry distribution and fitting business in Westmead Trading Estate, close to the Mead Way closure and said customers have struggled to get to him because they get lost on the diverted route.

Cleaner Lisa Pye said she had to reduce the number of clients whose homes she looked after, and as many were elderly that had as much impact on them as it had on her.

Where are the major projects?

The names of the major roadworks projects across Swindon will be familiar to nearly everybody in town.

Two schemes which started in early 2020 are either still ongoing or have only just been completed.

The widening of Mead Way which began in March 2020 and should have been over within 20 weeks still hasn’t been finished. The major west Swindon route has been closed for 18 months. The expected competition date, which was said last week to be the end of October has just slipped to November.

In north west Swindon the work to reconfigure the Moonrakers’ junctions, removing the double mini-roundabout and putting in a light-controlled junction also over-ran its original and revised timetable but is now finished.

Several of the schemes in the south and east of Swindon are associated with the New Eastern Villages expansion scheme.

The junction of Oxford Road and Nythe Road is being widened with a section of dual carriageway added to the road, the Piccadilly Roundabout at Covingham Square id being expanded to allow more traffic on at a time, the Gablecross Roundabout on the A420 is being improved and the White hart Roundabout is also being expanded, which includes the construction of an entirely new on-ramp on to the northbound A419.

The last project has been beset by problems – it remained open as work continued for months but has been closed because the subsurface of the road was found to be weak, and will remain shut until November at least.