Thames Water roadworks were allowed to overrun this morning causing severe traffic delays across Abingdon.

There was gridlock across the town and on routes coming into the town centre after the utility company's night-time work schedule continued into the rush hour.

Workers have been digging up Stert Street and the company had agreed to reopen the road by 5am.

READ MORE: Why is Oxford flood channel taking so long to complete

But workers were still there at 10am and said it was unlikely they would fill the road back in and then lay the asphalt before lunchtime.

Oxford Mail: The road closure signBusinesses missed appointments as a result of the delays and some pupils were half an hour late for school.

It was taking drivers more than an hour to reach Abingdon from villages such as Frilford and Wootton.

There were also delays in Drayton Road, Spring Road, Ock Street and Stratton Way.

Stuart Bates, a partner at chartered accountants Wenn Townsend, left his office to speak to the Thames Water staff.

When he asked them why the work had not been completed according to the schedule they said they were "just following instructions".

Mr Bates said: "It's not good enough - appointments have been missed and this must be affecting businesses across the town.

Oxford Mail: Stuart Bates talks to workers"Traffic across the town has been affected - it took me an hour to get in from Wootton this morning.

"If you knew in advance this was going to happen you could tell staff to work from home."

Lynton Ruddle, who works for Stannard, which has provided a lorry to help with the Thames Water work, said he would speak to the utility company to find out why it the work has over-run.

He believes another contractor was responsible for the error.

"Tarmac teams are now on their way," he added.

Oxford Mail: Traffic in Stratton WayOxford Mail: Abingdon north county councillor Nathan Ley said in a public statement: "Gridlock because Thames Water seem to be breaching their permit conditions on Stert Street.

"I am trying to find out more and ask about penalties."

Motorist Stacey Rudd replied: "I was stuck for 45 minutes in it this morning to take my partner to Culham.

" I ended up turning around and working from home. It's causing a nightmare out there. 

"They definitely needs to be giving us a warning."

Jenny Smith said: "It would be good if any penalty for Thames Water could be turned into compensation for the hundreds of people inconvenienced as a result.

Rowanna Steptoe replied: "My husband was late for work this morning, even though he left early as the road was closed. He starts at 6am.

"Apparently they ran out of tarmac but the last time I checked, the road hadn’t changed in length."

And Christina Battell said: "It was closed just after 5am. My partner had to go through Drayton to get to work."

A Thames Water spokeswoman said: "We are sorry for delays in reopening Stert Street in Abingdon. Our engineers began work yesterday (Monday, January 22) to install a new connection to our clean water pipes.

“This has now been completed and our teams are reinstating the road, which we expect to open tomorrow morning.

"We’d like to thank motorists and local residents for their continued patience while we carry out this essential work.”

The Oxford Bus Company has confirmed the road has now reopened. 


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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.