The riddle of the mystery roadworks that caused town centre traffic chaos in Lanark for two days has been solved.
The Gazette received bitter complaints from drivers last week after a busy road junction was closed over a weekend for what were assumed to be vital works.
There was outrage when the bollards and diversion signs were then removed without any work at all taking place on the short stretch of Woodstock Road before it connects with the main road at Bannatyne Street.
The pointless closure meant long detours for motorists making for some of the town’s busiest public buildings, including Lanark Health Centre, the Harry Smith Complex and the Lanark Lifestyles leisure centre and swimming pool.
The incident, over the weekend of April 22 and 23, was raised at the latest meeting of Lanark Community Council, and members heard from Clydesdale North councillor Catherine McClymont that the closure had been requested by BT’s Openreach broadband installation arm to repair underground cabling but its contractors never turned up to do the work.
She added that South Lanarkshire Council, as roads authority, is now investigating the matter, and a fine may be imposed for the needless disruption caused.
Her explanation was confirmed by Gordon Mackay, head of roads and transportation at the council.
He said: “The works at Woodstock Road were planned to be undertaken over the weekend of April 22-23 by BT Openreach to facilitate repairs to their infrastructure. However, the works were then cancelled by the company.
“Unfortunately, BT Openreach failed to inform either the traffic management company or the council of that decision, with the consequence that traffic management was put in place but no work was done.
“They are currently investigating why this happened.”
A spokeswoman for BT Openreach said:“This work was scheduled by an Openreach contractor but was cancelled late in the day.
“Unfortunately, it appears the company that sets up cones didn’t get the message in time and went ahead with the preparatory work.
“Our contractor is investigating further, and we’re really sorry for any inconvenience experienced by drivers over the weekend as a result.”
If the council does fine BT over the incident, the company shouldn’t be too worried as a fine of BT for overrunning works in Lanark’s Bloomgate last year was just £80.