MOTORISTS are suffering major delays in Christchurch today due to work to install new digital signs.

Predicted by the Chamber of Trade to cause “nightmare” delays, drivers have been stuck in tailbacks for up to 40minutes due to the work by Dorset County Council.

Delays have been exacerbated due to the High Street being closed for Monday Market.

Work on the signage, which Dorset County Council said will help direct drivers to vacant spaces, started this morning, with the westbound inside lane towards the town centre set to close for a week while engineers install it.

However, president of Christchurch Chamber of Trade and Commerce Peter Watson-Lee, said although the signs could potentially be helpful, the closure of the lane would inevitably cause disruption for commuters coming into the town.

“It is a major bottleneck at the best of times so closure for a week will be a bit of a nightmare,” he added.

“However, if it helps the public with parking it may be that the signs prove an excellent assistance, but I would like to learn more about the idea.”

Cllr Nick Geary, lead member for transport at Christchurch council said he was aware of the traffic delays.

“I would have thought that they wouldn’t have started on a Monday with the market closing the High Street", he said.

The digital signs will be integrated into Dorset County Council’s car park guidance system, which currently covers Weymouth and Dorchester.

The council said the project will help reduce circulating traffic, queuing, pollution and congestion associated with queues interfering with normal traffic flows.

Cllr Peter Hall, ward councillor for the town centre, acknowledged that the work would create inconvenience for road users in the short-term.

But he said he recognised that the lane closure is unavoidable and that the scheme will also help to ease traffic in the future.