People in Bradford-on-Avon say the town’s new £30,000 one-way system is causing “havoc”.
It has been put in place on Market and Silver Streets to help pedestrians socially distance.
There have been hundreds of negative comments on social media, while national BBC traffic reports have been urging drivers to avoid the area.
Wiltshire Council said the system – which launched on Friday – was in a trial period.
The one-way system, which includes reducing the town’s central – and narrow – medieval bridge to one lane with traffic lights at either end, is part of a social distancing scheme to widen pavements.
But motorists have been left frustrated, with some claiming it took them 40 minutes to get through the traffic lights.
One pedestrian, Robert, told BBC Wiltshire that the one-way system was “totally unnecessary”. His comments echoed many of those on local Facebook groups in the town.
“The amount of traffic it has created. I came through the town yesterday and the traffic was stretching all the way up Frome Road, over the canal bridge, up to the Barge Inn. It’s the lights I’m against, not the one-way system,” he added.
The scheme, run by Wiltshire Council, has the support of Bradford-on-Avon Town Council.
Bradford-on-Avon mayor Simon McNeill-Ritchie said: “You can see the size of our bridge, you can see the medieval streets that lead from it, they are incredibly narrow. In order to create the social distancing space for pedestrians, we need to eat into sufficient of the road.
“Of course it is inconvenient, you go into a shop you’ve got to put on a mask and keep social distance, the same with our restaurants… that is what we are being told to do and as a public body we have to make sure we are doing that side of it.”
Wiltshire Council said it would discuss the impact of the scheme with the town council to agree any adjustments that need to be made.