A DREAM romantic weekend was over before it had even begun – because of poor diversion signs on the A3.
Carole Challen and her fiance Mark Boylett booked a luxury Valentine’s weekend to Nice with a helicopter ride into Monte Carlo.
It was sickening. It was a dream trip for us. We couldn’t get another flight because it was such a busy weekend and we’ve lost our money because our insurers won’t cover it.
They set off from their home in Little Corner, Denmead, just before 4am to catch their 7.30am flight from Gatwick on February 13.
But they found the A3M northbound entry at Horndean closed and ended up spending nearly an hour on a wild-goose chase following incorrect diversion signs.
Miss Challen said: ‘I trawled the travel sites the night before and there was nothing about any road closures.
‘The diversions took us round and round in circles.
‘We tried every way we could think of to get back on it but it was a joke.
‘In the end we went along the coast but we arrived five minutes too late for our flight.
‘It was sickening. It was a dream trip for us. We couldn’t get another flight because it was such a busy weekend and we’ve lost our money because our insurers won’t cover it.’
Richard Coates, of Hayling, has previously voiced his frustration in The News at the bewildering diversions and lack of warnings about A3M night closures. And the problems are persisting.
In his latest letter to the Highways Agency he says: ‘From the road users viewpoint, this is an ongoing shambles with the Highways Agency unconcerned, ambivalent and arrogant in its attitude to motorists.
‘This results in a lot of wasted time and money being occasioned by the constant closures, the total lack of signage and information to the public and the news media giving the perception that there is very poor management from your team responsible for the A3M and A3 in Hampshire.’
An agency spokesman said: ‘We work hard to try and make sure our roadworks are well communicated in advance and diversions, where they’re needed, are fully signed.
‘We were sorry to learn of the problems. Improving information about roadworks will be a priority for us as we continue to invest in a road network that the region and the country can be proud of.’