BT sorry for roadworks

Telecoms giant BT has apologised after unhappy Wiganers criticised the setting up of emergency roadworks during the busy festive period.

Thursday, 4th January 2018, 8:53 am
Updated Thursday, 4th January 2018, 9:55 am
Roadworks on Wigan Lane

Residents hit out after the firm’s Openreach division put temporary traffic lights on Wigan Lane close to the Boar’s Head roundabout between Whitley and Standish.

Motorists complained to Wigan Council that the way the lights were sequenced was causing long delays and expressed concern emergency service vehicles could be hindered.

BT has now apologised for any inconvenience caused by the roadworks, which appeared last week.

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However, a degree of mystery surrounds the rest of the incident as it initially appeared the town hall may have been seeking to levy a financial penalty notice (FPN) on Openreach for not giving enough notice of the work and setting it up without permission.

However, the communications firm has strongly denied any wrongdoing, with the local authority also acknowledging that when work was actually carried out yesterday the correct permits were all in place.

A spokesperson for Openreach said: “We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused to road users while emergency repairs were carried out to a damaged carriageway box.

“Our top priority was ensuring the site was made safe for the general public and engineers attended the site on December 29 to do so.

“Full repair work was then carried out yesterday (January 3) with the necessary permissions in place.”

The temporary lights caused considerable concern among some Wiganers, with fears that ambulances may have faced an unnecessary hurdle getting to Wigan Infirmary which is also on Wigan Lane.

FPNs allow councils to fine companies up to £500 for not getting the correct permit for work on the highway.

A council spokesperson said: “Any advance or emergency works to our network need a permit so we can assess and minimise disruption to the travelling public. We follow legislation which applies to all companies working on our network and can issue fixed penalty notices for failing to work without a permit through our Greater Manchester permit scheme which is a standard procedure.”