WORCESTERSHIRE County Council Highways has defended lane closures that readers told us caused gridlock in the city centre at the weekend.

The lane closures on Worcester Bridge, Deansway, New Road and Tybridge Street were put in place on Friday evening as the authority said it was expected river levels would peak on Saturday.

READ MORE: Lane closures lead to heavy traffic congestion in city centre

The closures appeared to cause gridlock with traffic problems stretching to the outskirts of the city in Powick and St Peter’s. Readers told us delays were up to two hours, and First Worcester reported their buses were running an hour behind schedule.

Among a number of readers comments, Tim Parker said: “Another shameful incident of highway engineers/planners getting it wrong.”

A spokesperson for Worcestershire County Council said: “We have the option, during flood events, to turn the New Road into a two-way road when the two roads directly adjacent to the river Severn, Hylton Road and North Parade, are expected to flood in order to keep traffic flowing through the city centre.

“On Friday, the information from the Environment Agency was that river levels would peak sometime on Saturday afternoon and that these levels could be as high, if not higher, than those experienced in the previous weeks.

"These levels would potentially lead to road closures on the two adjacent roads.

"The decision was therefore taken to implement phase one of a two phase process to enable New Road to become two-way on Friday night in order to enable the rapid deployment of phase two should it be required.

“Any traffic management needs to be put in place complying with relevant legislation ensuring that the layout faced by drivers is both safe, clear and obvious.

"Such activities take several hours to implement.

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"As well as the use of signs and cones, the works included removing bollards to turn the St John’s Bull Ring roundabout into a fully operational roundabout and the removal of signage and street furniture at the Hylton Road/New Road junction to enable two-way running.

“The river peaked on Saturday at a level below expected and below that requiring the need to deploy the full scheme.

"The traffic management, which included lane closures, was removed early on Sunday morning.

"Whilst we appreciate the lane closures had an impact on traffic on Saturday, the decision was taken with the interests of keeping the road open for longer, given the information that we had at the time.”