GETTING across Hereford can be a long and frustrating game – as many drivers found out yesterday evening.

Last night’s traffic jams, which turned a five-minute journey into one topping an hour, were sadly not surprising for many motorists.

But the city’s traffic flow is a strange beast; rush hours, particularly on Fridays, have long brought bigger delays to those travelling on Edgar Street, Whitecross Road and Blueschool Street while the streets appear empty during mid-mornings, half-terms and the summer months when better weather make it easier for cycling and walking.

The big change seems to be that it no longer needs a broken-down lorry on Greyfriars Bridge for traffic jams to start spreading. And it’s not only a Friday evening when the bottlenecks form.

Saturday afternoon, for example, is one such time when it is best not to venture out in four wheels. Especially near Edgar Street when Hereford FC are playing at home and north-bound shoppers try to turn right off the A49 into Blackfriars Street to park at the Old Market, leading to tailbacks on Victoria Street.

An increase in visitors to the city, partly because of the new retail centre, is one of the theories put forward to explain the rise in traffic jams. Another is that the bigger – and more frequent delays –are down to traffic lights being “out of sync”.

That notion may wash with the many who were sat on Whitecross Road last night and were unable to get into Eign Street even when the traffic lights were on green. It seemed fortune favoured those leaving Sainsbury’s and Aldi as they had space to move into when it was their turn to move.

Similar bottlenecks, which in the Whitecross case pushed traffic back into King’s Acre and Three Elms, can be found at the junction of St Owen Street and Bath Street where drivers cannot move even where the lights turn green.

The lives of many of those sat frustratingly outside the Barrels and the Victory would be helped by a new river crossing linking the Rotherwas Industrial Estate and Hampton Park Road.

This newspaper, alongside Hereford MP Jesse Norman, has asked for money destined for the council’s preferred choice of linking the A49 and A465 below the city to, instead, be spent on making this new bridge happen.

Many of those stuck in the north of the city trying to get to the south would have seen that a “southern link road” in open countryside by the Callow would have been of no relief at all last night.

A new bridge to the east of the city, however, would have given hundreds another way of crossing the Wye and taken cars away from the congested inner ring roads where the problems begin.

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