Weeks of disruption are expected in the city after workmen downed tools on at least five significant roadwork sites due to a dispute with Liverpool Council.

King Construction, now trading as VIAM, has pulled out of schemes around County Road and Walton Lane, Walton; Great Howard Street, Vauxhall; Kingsley Road, Toxteth; and Byrom Street, Liverpool City Centre.

On Friday the council sent letters to residents and business around County Road saying the works had been due to complete this month but have been delayed due to "unforeseen circumstances".

The letter continues: "Liverpool City Council can confirm that the contractor, King Construction (now trading as VIAM), has removed resources from the scheme owing to a dispute over a separate scheme.

"Highway officers have escalated this urgent issue in a bid to establish a 'restart date' as soon as possible.

"We do appreciate that this is very frustrating and we are taking measures to ensure that the disruption is kept to a minimum and the 'site' is as tidy as it can be.

"Once works recommence, there is likely to be a further number of weeks work to be completed."

County Road roadworks in Walton, which have ground to a halt due to a dispute between contractor VIAM and Liverpool Council
County Road roadworks in Walton, which have ground to a halt due to a dispute between contractor VIAM and Liverpool Council

The ECHO understands the current downing of tools relates to complex contractual disputes.

A spokesman for VIAM told the ECHO the firm could not comment due to legal reasons, while Liverpool Council maintained a similar position.

Business owners and commuters in the area have complained about damage to their vehicles due to the unsurfaced roads

The manager of Topline Blinds on the corner of County Road and Ludlow Street, who gave his name as Tom, said the roadworks have been a "nightmare".

The Liverpool Echo sends newsletters on a wide range of topics - including our daily news bulletin, now going out three times a day.

There are others on what's on, politics, court news, Knowsley, Wirral, and arts & culture, as well as both Liverpool FC and Everton FC.

Signing up is free and it only takes a minute for you to get the biggest stories, sent straight to your inbox.

How to sign up for an Echo Email Update

1) Go to our dedicated newsletter page at this link.

2) Put your email in the box where indicated

3) Tick as many boxes as you like, for each newsletter you want.

4) Press Save changes and that's it!

He said: "They have dug all the road up and just left it. Half the time coming to work in the morning the temporary traffic lights are stuck on red.

"The workies stopped about two or three weeks ago, but there have been problems on County Road for about 12 months.

"A few weeks ago there were all cones around my shop and no smoking signs, it is frustrating."

A source told the ECHO the relationship between VIAM and the council has "broken down" since Operation Aloft, the Merseyside Police investigation into alleged corruption involving senior council figures and city developers.

King Construction, which is now under new management with no link to the previous owners, had been embroiled in the scandal when the explosive Max Caller report criticised the council's involvement in a deal for the so-called Tarmacademy in North Liverpool.

We have launched a new Facebook group where you can get all the latest hard-hitting, informative public interest journalism from the ECHO's team of award-winning reporters.

Join discussions about ongoing stories and investigations, share ideas and let us know what you feel we should be covering more.

To join the group click here.

You can also follow Public Interest Reporter Jonathan Humphries here.

That project was prompted by King proposing plans to develop a training site alongside an asphalt plant.

This move saw the council spend more than £4m on industrial land off Derby Road - despite one valuation suggesting it could have paid as little as £1.22m for the land needed for the project.

Six years later, the asphalt plant has been delivered but no training academy exists on the site.

A spokesman for the new management of King Construction said it no longer has any links with Tarmacadamy.