The weekend closure of the A34 has brought misery for residents for a second weekend.

Councillor Jo Sandelson described the traffic congestion in Wolvercote yesterday and today as 'dire' and 'entirely preventable' and raised concerns over whether its historic bridges can withstand the weight of the increased traffic.

National Highways has closed the A34 southbound from Peartree to Botley for viaduct repairs.

It has meant just like last weekend Wolvercote residents have had to put up with hundreds of vehicles, including lorries and coaches, using its narrow roads as a rat run.

Oxford Mail: Drivers have ignored diversion signs and caused chaos in Wolvercote

The official diversion was via the eastern ring road but Ms Sandelson said dozens of motorists have been ignoring signs.

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Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran visited Godstow Road bridge on Saturday to see the situation for herself.

She said: "The traffic in Wolvercote on Saturday when I visited continues to be problematic, however it did seem marginally better than the previous weekend."

She said the primary issue appeared to be people not heeding the signage.

"I have spoken with the council who assure me that they have taken every measure possible but they remain open to suggestions for what else they can do while these works are being carried out by National Highways," she said.

"My ask of non-Wolvercote and Wytham residents is to please follow the signs.

"I will continue to monitor the issue closely."

Ms Sandelson said: “Unfortunately National Highways haven’t done much including sending much needed traffic marshals to help ensure the free flow of traffic at the pinch points along the Godstow Road.

"They left it to the county council to do whatever they can to improve this dire and entirely preventable situation.

“Despite the county council working around the clock to put in place mitigations, there are still problems on Godstow Road with people ignoring signage from the top to the bottom of the Godstow Road to away from the area.

Oxford Mail: Drivers have ignored diversion signs and caused chaos in Wolvercote

“The council has stopped access to Seacourt Lane towards Wytham from the A34 with officers working extremely hard for the last week to make sure sat nav and Google maps were signalling Godstow Road as closed.

“The small bridges including Trout and Airmen’s as well as the Godstow Bridge cannot withstand the traffic especially with coaches, and even HGVs and horse boxes attempting this cut through.

“There is just no passing room and they cannot take the constant weight of these vehicles."

She said gas main work on the A34 combined with Wolvercote Viaduct repairs and the closure of Botley Road all at the same time were creating huge problems in and around the city.

Oxford Mail: Drivers have ignored diversion signs and caused chaos in Wolvercote

She said: “It would have been better for the non-essential works to have been spread out over different time periods in my opinion.” 

Zeeshan Shan, who intends to stand as an independent in the next city council elections, said on Saturday afternoon: “The traffic in Wolvercote currently is a nightmare. People are stuck in traffic for two hours. It is gridlocked in both directions.

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“There are three very old bridges which are protected under the Conservation Act. If this goes on they are going to be badly damaged by tomorrow.”

And he claimed the entire city was gridlocked, saying "people are barricaded within their own areas."

Oxford Mail: Drivers have ignored diversion signs and caused chaos in Wolvercote

Mr Shan, who lives in Cowley, said: “The whole city is congested as people are just trying to find a way through. The LTNs mean traffic is being funnelled down the main roads through Headington and Cowley, it’s all blocked.

"If there were cameras above Oxford, you could see what is going on.

“Someone needs to be held accountable for this. This is the poor planning of the Oxford heads. Andrew Gant needs to come into Oxford now and see what it is like.”

A spokesperson for the county council said: "National Highways and Network Rail are responsible for the roadworks on the A34 and on the Botley Road.

"The council is the wrong organisation to be seeking to hold to account for this.

"Oxfordshire County Council expressed concerns to National Highways about the timing of the A34 closures in light of the work on the Botley Road and the Nuneham viaduct situation, but we have no authority to alter the timings."

Greg Stone, National Highways Route Manager said: “We are aware that people are still not using the official diversion route when the A34 at Wolvercote is closed.

"We understand the impact of these closures. However, National Highways doesn't have enforcement powers to control drivers and we rely on drivers' goodwill to follow the diversion signs.

"Rat running not only creates gridlock, but it also puts extreme pressure on roads which were not designed for heavy traffic, such as the historic bridge on Godstow Road, which is not part of the official diversion.

"We urge motorists to follow the official diversion which has been chosen as it can cope with the volumes of traffic being diverted off the A34.”