UPDATED: Rush-hour travel misery for drivers in Leeds

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Leeds descended into rush hour chaos this morning morning as roads around the city became gridlocked - because of a broken down car.

Tailbacks stretched as far as Gildersome in the south of the city and motorists also had to contend with hold-ups between junctions eight and two of the motorway’s westbound carriageway.

Other routes affected by the mayhem included the A61, A62, A64, A65, A643, A647 and A6110.

It is understood a BMW car had broken down in the tunnel on the A58 and was spotted by CCTV operators who alerted police at about 8am. As the recovery vehicle became stuck in the resulting traffic, a special constable on the scene managed to move the car onto an exit of the carriageway by 9.30am.

But the volume of rush hour traffic took a lot longer to clear - with many road users citing delays of up to two hours as well as voicing frustration that one car could cause such chaos.

Commenting on the YEP’s website, Lord Wot Not said: “Fabulous. One broken down vehicle and the whole of Leeds comes to a standstill. One hour 25 minutes to get six miles!”

On Facebook, Lucy Walker wrote: “Joke. Took over an hour to get down Gelderd Road today. Two hours 50 min nearly for 30 min tops drive. Well gutted.”

Rob Greenland (@TheSocBiz) tweeted: “This is why I cycle in Leeds whenever I can. Because it’s only way to ensure I get to places on time at rush hour. What kind of city is that?”

An AA spokesman sympathised with motorists’ frustrations and said it should serve as “wake up call” to city authorities to have plans in place if it happens again.

“Lessons need to be learned from the experience and better plans need to be laid for getting vehicles like that moving in particularly difficult places,” he said.

A spokesman for bus company First said: “Many of our customers were unfortunately affected by congestion this morning due to the road traffic conditions largely caused by a broken down lorry on the Inner Ring Road.

“We worked hard to manage this situation as best as we could from our control centre to get buses back on time and this was helped by initiatives such as our Q-Busters in Headingley (ticket sellers on street) which help speed up bus journeys. We’d like to thank everyone for their patience this morning and assure customers our drivers and engineering staff did all we could to keep Leeds moving.”

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