GRIDLOCKED roads caused by roadworks are adding “hours a week onto short journeys”, frustrated drivers have claimed.

Motorists say roadworks in Greenstead, which are in place while Essex Highways completes improvement works in preparation for the new rapid transit system (RTS), are “disrupting lives”.

Several drivers have complained after being stuck in bottlenecks in Greenstead, the Hythe, and further afield, and the issue was heightened over the weekend as a fresh intake of Essex University students descended on nearby Wivenhoe Park.

A video seen by the Gazette shows traffic at a standstill in both directions on Saturday morning.

Staff at Tesco, in Greenstead Road, have been spotted controlling the traffic flow so customers can leave the car park.

Old Heath resident Dave Smith has been forced to leave 30 minutes earlier to get to work on time.

He said: “The situation is far worse for traffic heading down Hythe Hill as everything at Colne Causeway is backing up to give way from traffic coming from Haven Road.”

Another resident told the Gazette “life is hell at the moment on a daily basis” for people living and working in the area.

Gazette: Every little helps - a Tesco employee helps control the traffic flow outside the Greenstead Road storeEvery little helps - a Tesco employee helps control the traffic flow outside the Greenstead Road store (Image: Supplied)

County councillor for the area Lee Scordis said he has written to the councillor responsible for highways to ask why the roadworks weren’t completed during the school holidays or as overnight works.

Read more: Colchester shoppers reportedly stuck in huge queues for hours near Asda

Essex Highways says the works are contributing to making Colchester “a green, safer, healthier city”, with the RTS expected to travel between the Park and Ride station in Mile End and Essex University, providing links to a new garden community which is due to be developed nearby.

A spokesman added: “With stops along its route and services delivered every few minutes, this will connect new and existing residents with key destinations including the hospital, railway station, city centre, and university.

“The works are contributing to making Colchester a green, safer, healthier city. In a thriving, growing city such as Colchester, providing high-quality public transport solutions will not only help to grow the local economy, but will also help reduce congestion, improve accessibility and support environmental objectives.”

The RTS scheme has also caused chaos in the north of the city, with roadworks in place near the North Station roundabout.

Gazette: Congestion - queues leaving Asda and Turner Rise Retail Park in ColchesterCongestion - queues leaving Asda and Turner Rise Retail Park in Colchester (Image: Supplied)

Last week, one driver claimed it took them more than an hour to drive one mile from Colchester’s Asda supermarket to nearby Mile End Road.