IT’S official – Worcester is the third worst city in the country for rush hour gridlock, according to a damning new report.

Worcester ranks in the top three of the traffic jam league of shame, coming only a slow crawl behind the worst offenders, Canterbury and St Albans.

A new survey, published today, says the rush hour in Worcester adds 8.6 minutes to a normal 30 minute journey.

The rush hour speed in the city is also cripplingly slow at just an average of 12.84mph - the14th slowest in the country - compared to the fastest average of 25.18mph in Newport.

However, Worcester still has a faster average rush- hour speed than neighbouring Hereford (11.49mph).

The busiest day for traffic in Worcester is Thursday according to the survey, conducted by Direct Line Drive Plus, based on 20 million miles worth of data.

The figures will come as no surprise to readers, who voted traffic the number one area of concern in the city, as reported in your Worcester News last June.

Cllr Simon Geraghty, leader of Worcester City Council and deputy leader of Worcestershire County Council, said ongoing improvement work - including the including dualling of the Southern Link Road - is key to resolving Worcester’s traffic problems.

He said: “That will make using that road and the bypass at the edge of Worcester a more attractive option than going through the heart of the city centre.

“They travel through the city centre rather than using the Southern Link Road and conges - tion on that road is pushing more drivers into the city centre.”

Around 30,000 drivers use the link road every day compared to 35,000 who travel over the main bridge in Worcester.

Cllr Geraghty said: “That is why we are having so much focus on improving that link road.”

But he admitted the results of the survey did not surprise him, and said there is “no silver bullet” to address congestion despite improvements that are or have already being made to cycle ways, railway stations and infrastructure including the Diglis Bridge.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chambers of Commerce said it would back any action to tackle congestion.

“The Chamber of Commerce is here to support business and a good transport system is crucial to helping business to work,” a spokesman said. “We are fully supportive of any traffic measures which help businesses move efficiently around our cities.”