FRUSTRATED motorists were forced to endure hours of queues in Maldon Road after Colchester Zoo slashed ticket prices.

The zoo cut prices by more than half to £10 on weekdays as part of its January Blues special offer.

And at weekends pre-booked tickets are just £10.50 - a £10 saving.  

Reports surfaced on social media on Sunday of visitors being held up in huge tailbacks in Warren Lane and Maldon Road, with some drivers saying they had been stuck in mile-long tailbacks for nearly three hours.

The congestion coincided with the zoo's cut-price offer.

But the popularity of the offer appeared to have contributed to huge traffic queues over the weekend, with people goiing on social media to voice their frustration at being unable to get to the zoo for the day.

Shannon Hogan said: “@ColchesterZoo - what's going on today?

“I've spent £50 on tickets and been sat on traffic for over an hour 1km from car park.

“Will we get in or get parked? Will we get a refund?”

Another account, @OntheA12Essex, said the road had been hit by heavy traffic from as early as 9.30am on Sunday, with tailbacks still holding up drivers four hours later.

Mark Holland, who travelled from Ipswich to go to the zoo, said he joined the queue at 10.40am on Sunday, but gave up after he reached the Maldon Road junction two hours later.

He said: “I joined the queue near Tollgate at around 10.40am.

“It was total gridlock and roundabouts were also becoming blocked up – people were getting out and walking as well.

“We finally gave up shortly before the Maldon Road junction at 12.40pm.”

“There was no way to get through to the zoo on the phone – no response on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.”

Mr Holland said Colchester Zoo is only allowing an exchange of tickets if he also pays an admin fee.

Gazette: Tailback – scores of cars were backed up in Maldon Road on SundayTailback – scores of cars were backed up in Maldon Road on Sunday (Image: Social Media)

He continued: “They're offering exchange of tickets to another day, but with an admin fee and to pay the difference in any ticket prices – I'm not accepting that at all.

“It’s just very badly managed – if they're selling reduced tickets, they should expect increased visitors and plan accordingly.

“This has really put us off future visits.”

Colchester Zoo has been contacted by the Gazette for comment.