AN ELDERLY driver who was forced off the road and had his car damaged has slammed 'irresponsible' motorists using an east end street as a 'rat run'.

Greenock man Murdoch Martin is calling for action to stop drivers hurtling down Orchard Street.

Since the closure of Dellingburn Street for railway bridge work the tiny road, which has a very steep incline, has been used as a shortcut to avoid the diversions at Ingleston Street and reach the A8.

Murdoch, 73, who lives in nearby John Street, said: "There are so many cars using the road just now and it is not fit for that kind of traffic.

"It has a really steep hill, it must be 45 degrees and cars come flying down and if you are going up you are forced to swerve in or they will hit you.

"I had to pull in and hit the pavement.

"I burst a tyre and had to take it to get fixed, so I am now £45 out of pocket.

"It has been terrible since the closure came into effect.

"If everyone took their time there is enough space for two cars to pass.

"People should take more care."

The minor road which links Ingelston Street with Cartsburn Street has regularly been nose to tail at peak times hour since the nearby closure, with traffic backing up.

Dellingburn Street is shut while Network Rail carry out vital maintenance on the railway bridge.

Roads bosses admitted the major work, which is due to finish by the end of March, has caused problems.

An Inverclyde Council spokesman said: “Orchard Street is not part of the official diversion but we can’t stop drivers with local route knowledge from using it as an alternative route.

"This work has had a significant impact on the local road network but things are expected to return to normal in the near future.

"Until then we would urge all motorists to drive responsibly, to drive with all due care and attention and to be considerate of other road users."

The work on the railway bridge is due to finish at the end of March.