A48 roadworks cause country lane problems in the Forest of Dean
ROADWORKS on the A48 have caused problems on country lanes as drivers ignore official diversions and try to squeeze down rat-runs.
Three lorries were wedged in a narrow back road between Newnham and Littledean yesterday on day one of the week-long work north of the Severnside village.
Gloucestershire County Council is resurfacing the A48 until Friday from the Silver Fox Cafe to the railway bridge in Broadoak, so it is closed.
It is the first of three stretches of the major route to shut in stages until the end of the month.
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Drivers should take a diversion via the B4234, B4226 and A4151, Speech House and Littledean but some have ignored it.
Silver Street and Pleasant Stile, which runs between Littledean and Newnham, was closed for two hours while police helped to free stuck articulated lorries.
"I saw the tail end of a vehicle going from Pleasant Stile back towards Little- dean," said cider maker Ray Tosh, who lives in Pleasant Stile. "It was a huge articulated lorry with Bulgarian plates. The police sorted it out. It was busy during morning rush hour, as we expected."
Cyril and Marilyn Barnes, of Newnham Post Office, said the village was quieter than normal.
"Our customers who live close by are coming in but we are missing some passing trade," said Mr Barnes.
Newnham Parish Council chairman Joy Larkham agreed.
"It's difficult, there's never a good time to do roadworks but it is definitely quieter here," she said.
A Gloucestershire police spokesman said three lorries got stuck in Silver Street, which leads to Pleasant Stile, just before 9am.
Officers helped two drivers get back out of the lane after one was freed before they arrived. The road reopened just after 11am.
But there was good news for some commuters, who reported an easier trip into Gloucester yesterday morning, although the A40 remained busy.
Minsterworth Parish Council chairman Richard Few said some drivers may have headed for the A40 or even the old Severn Bridge.
From October 14 to 25 the A48 – the only A road which starts in the county – will be closed in Blakeney from the Awre Road junction to the Two Bridges junction.
Then from October 28 to November 1, it will be closed from the Awre Road junction, through Blakeney to the end of the 30mph limit.
The roads will close from 7am to 7.30pm but could reopen as early as 5.30pm.
County council highways manager Brian Watkins urged drivers to use the official diversion.
"We have put out additional warning signs to deter HGV drivers from using other inappropriate roads in the area as a shortcut," he said.