Furious commuters were forced to sit and queue in long Leeds Road tailbacks this weekend after a roadworks blunder from Yorkshire Water.
Yorkshire Water applied to North Yorkshire County Council to install the temporary traffic lights at the junction of Firs Avenue to carry out repair work.
However, despite the lights being installed and causing long delays both north and southbound, no work was completed over the weekend.
Local resident and county councillor Don Mackenzie approached the utility company to enquire why the lights were installed, causing "unnecessary disruption" to motorists.
Yorkshire Water explained that they made a late decision to cancel their works after seeing Northern Gas engineers were also carrying out work nearby.
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Water said: ""We would like to apologise to commuters affected by delays on Leeds Road last Saturday (24 September).
"Our traffic lights were set up in readiness for work to take place but when our engineers arrived at Leeds Road they decided not to proceed as another utility was carrying out work nearby."
Coun Mackenzie criticised the company for showing a "complete lack of concern" for the town's residents and visitors.
He said: "We had an example last weekend of how a utility company should not treat the travelling public.
"Whilst a water company, like other utility companies, have the right to gain access to their infrastructure under the highway, they should impose road closures and traffic controls for the shortest possible time.
"To set up temporary lights and walk away without doing any work at all is a misuse of that power.
"The town is very busy every weekend and we can ill-afford unnecessary disruption to one of our main roads such as we experienced last weekend.
"They were given every opportunity on both days to recognise their error and act to correct it, but they failed to do so."