TRANSPORT bosses have today hit back at Inverclyde Council criticism in a roadworks row.

The local authority had called on the government's Transport Scotland agency 'to get its act together' after traffic lights were set up on the A78 at Inverkip Road.

The council complained that the agency previously agreed not to have lights on the road while the local authority carries out work on the other route into Greenock, at Cardwell Road in Gourock.

But Transport Scotland say the lights were introduced in connection with an emergency Scottish Power repair - and not for the parapet works they are currently undertaking in the same area.

Council leader Stephen McCabe had described the events as an 'incredible situation where a national agency can just decide to unilaterally change its mind without any consideration for the effect this has on the travelling public'.

He said: "We fully appreciate that any roadworks or construction project, can take unexpected turns and issues arise that you have to deal with.

"But, knowing that this work has an impact on work going on in other parts of the network, doing a complete u-turn on a previous agreement and leaving little to no time for other agencies to respond or influence that work is cavalier at best and downright incompetent at worst.

“There is no doubt that the travelling public will be inconvenienced by this and we are all put into a situation where there isn’t a great deal of time to get the word out to communities affected by this.”

Earlier this month, the council delayed the essential maintenance work to the bridge on Cardwell Road because lights had been put in place on the A78.

Local authority roads officials say they'd negotiated with the national agency and their maintenance outfit and they only started the work in Gourock on the understanding that traffic on the A78 would flow both ways.

Councillor McCabe added: "Transport Scotland needs to get its act together and make sure that situations like this do not arise again and that better planning gets put in place as a matter of urgency.

"This cannot be allowed to happen again.

"For this work Transport Scotland need to make sure that it is completed as quickly as possible to minimise the inconvenience to the travelling public.”

The government agency today responded to the council's statement, by saying they were wrong to criticise them.

A spokesman said: “Inverclyde Council appear to have confused emergency utility works with planned parapet works on the A78.

“The temporary traffic lights have been put in place at Inverkip Road by Scottish Power to allow them to repair an emergency fault which was reported on Friday.

"Scottish Power have classed this as an emergency, which gives them powers to enter the roadspace at short notice without the standard approval process.

“These works are unrelated to the planned parapet works, which are being carried out in the manner previous agreed by Transport Scotland with all relevant stakeholders.”