EMERGENCY work to a sewer has caused ‘traffic chaos’ in one of Oswaldtwistle’s busiest streets.

A section of Union Road was closed off after a blockage was found in the sewer underneath St Paul’s School and Union Road, a spokesman for United Utilities said.

The closure, on Monday, left residents’ cars blocked in, bus passengers confused and ambulances struggling to get past, Oswaldtwistle councillor Doug Hayes said.

“I’ve had a lot of complaints. Residents had their cars blocked in, passengers told me bus drivers were going mad, and there was an even an ambulance blasting its horn trying to get through.

“The county council should be telling people about these works.”

Oliver Starkey, the highways manager for Hyndburn at Lancashire County Council, said: "We work with utility companies to minimise the impact of their work on road users by agreeing suitable traffic management and diversions and, where work is planned well ahead of time, ask the company to take the opportunity to notify local residents and businesses.

"We were contacted last week about United Utilities' need to carry out urgent work on Union Road. To minimise the impact on road users and local businesses they agreed to delay the work until the school half term and to move the closure away from the junction to make it clearer to traffic that businesses remain accessible."

Mark Donaghy, a spokesman for United Utilities, added: “We’re sorry this work is causing inconvenience for local people.

“But we urgently need to repair a sewer under Union Road which has been causing flooding at a nearby primary school.

“This type of work will always cause disruption in busy areas, which is why we worked quickly with the council to get this project started during half-term, when roads are usually a little lighter.”

Fellow Oswaldtwistle councillor Peter Britcliffe said: “The road was closed and it was causing traffic chaos, especially with work already going on at Stone Bridge Lane.”

Coun Britcliffe called on the county council to change diversion signs.

He said: “Traffic is mist-akenly turning up Frederick Street and causing chaos at a dead end.”

The Hyndburn Connect services six and seven will be diverted from both Accrington and Blackburn until work is completed.

The work was due to be finished by Sunday.