A FORMER Worcester mayor believes traffic chaos could have been avoided if council officers had monitored New Road rather than closing it.

Councillor Derek Prodger spoke to David Wareing, chief executive of the city council, this morning urging him to re-open the road.

"I've just learned that the road has re-opened and I think it's a wise decision," he said.

"The council has done a marvellous job during the floods but I think closing New Road yesterday was a mistake.

"The road could have been monitored by someone and as soon as the water hit the road it could've closed then. Instead closing it has caused absolute mayhem. I think common sense should have played its hand.

"I had endless telephone calls this morning from people living in St John's. They all want to know why the bridge was closed during the peak periods.

"I'm pleased that it's re-opened."

Alec Mackie, a spokesman for Hereford and Worcester Fire Brigade, said that while the bridge is closed fire engines find it "extremely difficult" to get around the city because of extreme traffic queues.

School children and workers across the county also faced long delays this morning as train station platforms filled with people trying to avoid traffic chaos.

Many people opted to travel by public transport but the trains were unable to cope with the extra demand.

A spokesman for Central Trains recognised there were problems this morning but said the service was already stretched to its limits.

"We've had a lot of problems in the East Midlands because of flooding in Burton-upon-Trent," he said.

"I'm sure people are wondering if we're putting on more trains but we haven't physically got them. We're doing the best we can in the circumstances."

6 First Great Western resumed its daily service between Hereford and London Paddington today.

Customers can catch the 5.55am service, due to arrive at Paddington at 8.58am. The service also calls at Ledbury, Colwall, Malvern, Malvern Link, Worcester Foregate Street, Shrub Hill and Evesham.

A return service will leave Paddington at 5.12pm - due to arrive at Hereford at 8.11pm.