HIGHWAYS bosses today blamed a new bout of A64 chaos on contractors who extended lane closures - only minutes before the morning rush hour.

Tailbacks and long delays confronted frustrated motorists because workers closed off part of the A64 before they were meant to do so, the Highways Agency has claimed today.

They say Amey plc were responsible for bringing the roadworks-hit stretch of carriageway to a standstill yesterday morning.

Amey, based in Farnborough, Hampshire, has been contracted by the Highways Agency to close a gap in the A64's central reservation near Askham Bryan.

Lane closures are already in place on the road because of work at Top Lane, Copmanthorpe.

At about 7.30am yesterday, Amey workers laid a new stretch of cones - further extending the lane closures - so they could begin work.

But the Highways Agency said that they were not meant to start until after the rush hour had finished.

The new closures meant journey times were almost doubled for already long-suffering motorists.

Sheila Perry, of the Highways Agency, apologised to motorists who were delayed by Amey's actions.

Updated: 08:47 Wednesday, April 17, 2002