Motorway saves hundreds of homes from demolition

Looking  along Twyford Avenue (left) in 1961. If the  council had had  its way all would have been demolished  in the early 1970s.
Looking along Twyford Avenue (left) in 1961. If the council had had its way all would have been demolished in the early 1970s.

THIS WEEK IN 1976: Big crowds for the big band sound

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The modern photograph you see here could not have been taken if plans for the M275 had been scrapped.

For at one time Portsmouth City Council was planning to demolish all the houses between Twyford Avenue and Stamshaw Road and replace them with the infamous North/South Road Scheme, simply to improve traffic flow.

The same location as in 1961 with Twyford Avenue  off to the left. You would have been looking at  a dual carriageway had the M275 not been  built.

The same location as in 1961 with Twyford Avenue off to the left. You would have been looking at a dual carriageway had the M275 not been built.

It would have meant the demolition of all housing in the roads linking Twyford Avenue and Stamshaw Road including Lower Derby Road, St Mark’s Road, Knox Road, Meyrick Road, Winstanley Road and Newcomen Road.

And at what cost?

The proposal for the North/South and East/West routes and the upgrading of Eastern Road was, at 1977 estimates, put at £9.63m of which government grants wouldhave covered £7.22m.

Justifying the upheaval for the families involved would, of course, have had huge impact on which no value could be placed.

Such was the traffic situation in the late 1960s and early 1970s that a three-lane traffic flow was introduced on the northern end of Commercial Road. It was called the tidal flow scheme.

This meant that in the morning, incoming traffic would be able to drive into town in two lanes with one lane for outgoing traffic.

During the afternoon and evening commute there would be two lanes for outbound traffic and one for inward traffic.

The whole scheme was managed by overhead traffic lights.

I am not sure how this scheme worked as I did not drive at the time, but it lasted until the M275 was constructed and the dual carriageway was built from Rudmore roundabout to Church Street.

As we know, with Portsmouth being largely an island city we live in a huge cul-de-sac and I don’t think there will ever be a cure for our traffic problems.