TRAFFIC came to a standstill in Torquay as the seafront road was closed for repairs to the giant Palm Court crane.
The seafront re-opened 11 hours ahead of schedule on Saturday, August 31, at 6.45pm.
Torquay town centre's trader John Doherty, of Dot's Pantry in Union Street, said: "The traffic was monstrous."
Traffic problems were compounded after a man died in a tragic fall at Lower Union Lane, closing roads around Union Street on Friday.
At the same time motorists were confused by diversion signs around the town when the Union Square car park also had to be closed because of a motorbike fire.
Torbay Council has confirmed that it had a number of complaints from businesses, organisations and members of the public affected by the congestion.
A council spokesman said: "Torbay Road next to Rock Walk was scheduled to close on Friday until 6am on Sunday morning to enable the crane at the Abbey Sands development to be removed, repaired and replaced due to a mechanical fault.
"This was in the interest of public safety with action being needed whilst weather conditions were suitable.
"The operation was completed successfully and as a result the road was reopened on Saturday evening at 6.45pm, over 11 hours ahead of schedule.
"Unfortunately other unplanned incidents on Friday affected the movement of traffic in Torquay.
"Both Union Square car park and Lower Union Lane car park had to be closed for several hours due to a vehicle fire and a suicide respectively, therefore traffic had to be diverted, resulting in congestion through the town centre.
"A number of enquiries were received from members of the public, businesses and other organisations that were affected.
"These were dealt with by the highways team and no further complaints have been received in relation to the council's response in addressing these unexpected incidents."
Mr Doherty of the Torquay BID said: "The traffic on Friday was a continuous stream.
"I can't see how it could have been avoided. Obviously the crane had to be repaired and it had to be done in fine weather. It would have been worse if it had fallen over on to the seafront.
"The two car parks being closed at the same time was not what anybody would have planned. One poor soul lost his life and there was a fire. Nobody could have planned for that."