AFTER nine weeks of traffic misery, one of Colchester's busiest roads has finally reopened.

Essex County Council has been forced to close Brook Street since March 14 for a £440,000 for the mini-roundabout at the junction of East Street to be replaced with a traffic light-controlled system.

The road opened on Friday with temporary traffic lights, with the new ones set to be installed in the coming days.

The closure has left commuters, shoppers and parents facing much longer journeys with drivers diverted all the way out to the Hythe, while tailbacks have often stretched as far back as Ipswich Road.

The start of the works coincided with other roadworks on Southway and St Botolph's Street, with the timing fiercely criticised by Colchester Council.

Security Industry Authority-credited guards where also employed by the council to watch over the building site and ensure people did not encroach too close.

Essex County Council cabinet member for Highways Eddie Johnson said: “We would like to thank drivers for their patience while the road was closed. "Brook Street is open now that works are almost complete, with just the installation of new traffic lights to be finished in the next few days.

"Temporary traffic lights will be in use until then.”

Some Brook Street residents enjoyed the road closure so much they want it shut for good.

Jane Clarke, 68, spearheaded a campaign to keep it closed because of high-levels of pollution and noise.

She presented a petition with more than 100 signatures on to County Hall asking for the suggestion to be considered and will continue to campaign.

She said: "The 106 names were mainly Brook Street residents. I didn't spread it out too far because I thought it was important for the people who live here to have their say.

"It was probably not realistic to expect them to close it but we have put our grievances forward.

"Now I will give people time to discuss it and see what their response is because these things take time.

"It is one of the most polluted areas in Colchester and the houses are so close to the street.

"Once the traffic builds up to normal levels I will take pictures to try and show how the congestion is."