Drivers are furious at “ridiculous” roadworks that could lead to a major crossroads being completely gridlocked until the end of June.
Motorists are complaining of taking over hour to do a five minute journey as contractors Eurovia dig up the crossroads between Elstree Hill Road, Watford Road and Barnet Lane.
Hertfordshire County Council has commissioned the work to reduce congestion and cut accidents by widening Watford Road, improving traffic signals and road markings, altering pedestrian crossings and resurfacing roads and pavements.
Engineers from BT will cause further disruption on Monday when they begin to relocate and replace man holes, which will not finish until May.
The traffic is currently being controlled by 24 hour four way traffic signals, much to the anger of residents who feel they should be turned off after 5pm when the engineers stop working.
Mark Warwick, who lives in Beethoven Road in Elstree, complained the tailbacks caused by the traffic signals meant a journey from one end of Barnet Lane to the other, which normally takes five minutes in rush hour, took 55 minutes.
He said: “This is crazy, the road works are locking up the whole of Elstree.”
Yesterday there were tailbacks as far as Apex Corner, the Spire Bushey Hospital and the Watford Bypass Roundabout.
People are taking to social media to express their outrage, with Erica Marks tweeting: “Gridlock around Elstree! Chaos for miles around - please sort this as we cannot get to schools or work!”
Scott Lesner tweeted: “Traffic chaos at Elstree Village. It can't be like this for 6 months. 50 mins for 2 miles to Bushey.”
Businesswoman and mother Susan Finch is determined to get as many people as possible to complain to the council to force them to improve the situation.
She said: “I’m not opposed to the roadworks being carried out, but there must be a better way of managing them than this. They need to have people working there 24 hours a day seven days a week and have more teams of engineers, so the work is carried out as quickly as possible.”
Speaking at last night’s borough council meeting, Councillor Morris Bright said the “horrendous” traffic delays were “totally unacceptable”.
He added Hertsmere Borough Council and MP for Hertsmere James Clappison were putting pressure on the county council to “resolve this as a matter of urgency”.
County Councillor Terry Douris, who is responsible for highways, “sincerely apologised” for the disruption caused by the “essential improvement works”.
He said “everything possible” was being done to minimise the disruption by ensuring the temporary signals were manually operated at busy times to ensure the maximum flow of traffic and diverting traffic by the Watford Bypass.
However he said it was not possible for engineers to turn off or remove the lights when the workers were not present.
He added: “The works are being phased to enable the work to take the shortest practical time without closing the junction completely.
“We will continue to monitor the situation on a regular basis and will take whatever action we can in this constrained area to minimise disruption.”