DRIVERS heading towards the centre of York faced traffic chaos yesterday as footpath works in the centre of town disrupted traffic on some roads.

Council workmen are replacing parts of the footpaths on Low Ousegate and Bridge Street, and have closed one lane of traffic on the road with diversions in places around Skeldergate and Skeldergate Bridge while the work is being carried out.

Yesterday the closures caused queues of traffic to back up over Skeldergate Bridge and along Nunnery Lane, even though the closure did not start until 9.30am, after the worst of the morning rush hour.

Cllr Ian Gillies, the city council's executive member for transport and planning, said: "We apologise for any inconvenience and ask residents and visitors to please bear with us throughout the works. We are doing everything reasonably possible to keep disruption to a minimum.

"We have adjusted the traffic signals leading onto Ousegate Bridge to improve traffic flow and are continuing to monitor these closely. Works are also taking place outside of peak traffic times between 9.30am and 3.30pm only."

A council spokesman said it is expected that the renovations will take six weeks to complete.

Low Ousegate and Bridge Street are the final streets in a scheme which will see 900m2 of footway replaced, the same as 32 double decker buses. The nearby streets of High Ousegate and Coney Street have already been upgraded.

The scheme has been funded from the city council's Highway Maintenance Budget Footway Schemes.

As well as the traffic diversions, bus stops on Low Ousegate have had to be closed to let the footpath works be carried out. Passengers can board the buses which usually run via Low Ousegate from Piccadilly and Merchantgate, Clifford Street, Stonebow, and Station Avenue instead.