Residents have hit out at traffic delays caused by lengthy roadworks on the A65 near Settle.

Several readers have contacted the Craven Herald about the roadworks as very little work has been carried out while one-way traffic lights have been in place for the past five or six weeks at Mearbeck – between Long Preston and Cleatop roundabout at Settle.

Peter Scott-Smith, 81, said: “Traffic tails back virtually into Long Preston,” he said. “Depending on the time of day, you’ll have to wait 20 minutes to get through.

“It’s one of the busiest non-motorway roads in the region and there are long tailbacks in both directions.”

Another Craven resident, Hilary Hughes, said: “Do the highways department even realise that they have abandoned a set of traffic lights and a large number of cones for a contraflow system on that stretch of road for a ridiculous length of time?

“As someone who has travelled that stretch at least twice a day for the last few weeks, I am completely baffled as to why there has been no sighting of workmen or indeed any work going on.”

The county council has indicated that the saturated ground has delayed repairs, but Mr Scott-Smith said road crews should remove traffic cones and temporary lights until the work can be carried out. He said: “They do not have to be there at the moment and should be removed until the work can be done,” he said. It’s an absolutely ludicrous example of bureaucratic incompetence.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council highways said: “We have had this issue on the A65 at Mearbeck where the extensively saturated ground has been bubbling up in the road surface resulting in a number of serious potholes.

“Initially attempts were made to repair the potholes and remove the traffic management, but this proved unsuccessful as the water never stopped flowing. Traffic lights had to be re-erected for safety.”

“We had hoped that the ground would dry out and water would stop flowing to allow us a period where a more substantial and permanent repair could be made to the road surface but this has not materialised.”

He added that other possible drainage measures could be carried out to stop it happening again and talks are going on with the landowner.

He said it is hoped there will be an order for the contractor to carry out the works early next month so road can be opened fully before the Easter break.