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Traffic chaos as Brighton buses refuse to travel down 'dangerous' North Street
Cracked surfaces following roadworks have forced hundreds of buses to be diverted away from a main shopping street.
Brighton and Hove Bus Company said yesterday it would not be running any services in North Street, Brighton, until urgent repairs are carried out.
And later yesterday afternoon, it said that due to "acute traffic congestion", it was terminating many buses at the Old Steine, and others would avoid the Old Steine altogether (more details at the end of the story).
About 5.15pm the firm said westbound services were now back using North Street as queues on the seafront had led to services becomming severely delayed.
Earlier bus bosses said the diversion was for safety reasons, adding it was being "proactive rather than reactive".
Brighton and Hove City Council, which is responsible for the road, said it was committed to repairing the road "as soon as practically possible".
A statement issued by the bus company said buses had been "severely grounding on failed utilities manholes and trenches in North Street".
It added: “We are closely working with Brighton and Hove City Council to ensure rectification work is done as soon as possible.
“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused and will get buses back into North Street as soon as the rectification work is completed.”
A spokeswoman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: "The council is concerned about the condition of North Street following works carried out by utilities companies and is grateful to Brighton and Hove Buses for continuing their services on a diverted route.
“North Street is a major bus route in the city and our priority is to find out the extent of the problem and make sure the road is repaired to the standard required for its safe use.
“We are committed to doing this as soon as practically possible, and, as a matter of urgency will be carrying out an in-depth digging investigation over the next few days to find out just how serious the problems are.
"We will then have a clear picture of why the re-instatement has failed, and if this is as a result of utilities’ works, we will use all the powers at our disposal to address the issue with the companies concerned and resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
“The council takes the quality of works undertaken on the city’s roads very seriously.
"We want to make absolutely sure the right repairs are put in place and do not fail again. We may need to hire specialist equipment to carry out the investigation and then we’ll be ensuring the work is done.
"In the meantime we thank the public for their patience and apologise for any inconvenience while we undertake the investigation.”
Update from the bus company at 5.15pm yesterday
Westbound buses have now returned to their normal route up North Street. The diversion route via the sea front and West Street was causing buses to become extremely late.
At the moment buses on services 12/12A/12X, 28 and 29 are still starting from the Old Steine to try to get them back on time, but from tomorrow morning (Thursday) they will return to Churchill Square.
Eastbound buses from Churchill Square or Dyke Road are operating via Queens Road and North Road, then northbound services continue via St Peters Church to normal route, and eastbound buses continue to Old Steine to join normal route.
Eastbound buses from Brighton Station operate from Queens Road via West Street and Seafront to Brighton Pier then normal route.
Brighton and Hove Buses apologises for any inconvenience caused.