There have been long delays throughout Colwyn Bay this morning as commuters look for a way around the closure of the A55 following the operation to rescue the sailors aboard the tanker off the coast of North Wales. The main road was closed throughout rush hour as agencies looked to get the dual carriageway at least partially open.
Normally the rush hour through Colwyn Bay doesn’t even last that long. Today, as the traffic snakes through the town and up into neighbouring Old Colwyn, it seems more like a permanent fixture, the equivalent of a rush day. What’s normally a two minute trip and three short junctions of the A55 has now become for many an hour’s crawl in first gear.
One postman passed by pushing a handcart, looking back at the road; ‘I’m so glad I left the van today’. Pedestrians find themselves making short journeys much faster - walking past the long line of cars that stretches bumper to bumper through a two mile section of traffic lights and road junctions that normally flow pretty well – but today finds itself facing the enormous volume of thousands of extra vehicles who were expecting to simply bypass Colwyn Bay.
A young mum’s taken her boy out to look at the traffic queues – a reminder that this could have been so much worse if the road closure had happened in term-time.
Some shops seem empty – ironically, the effect of full roads has been to discourage some motorists from making their normal journeys. Quiet suburban roads have suddenly become minor traffic hold ups of their own, as locals make a short cut and then find out they’ll still get caught in the slow flow of traffic. One pensioner out walking his dog stops to remember that this was how North Wales used to be before the A55 – cars nose to tail, inching along – right now, kept from the A55 on safety reasons, as the salvage operation of the stricken coaster continues.