THE level crossing in Cosham High Street could be permanently closed within three to five years.
Traffic England has confirmed the crossing in High Street is on a list of crossings it is considering for closure on safety grounds.
That would mean there was no through traffic from the city to Cosham on Portsmouth Road.
Chris Denham, a spokesman from Network Rail and the South-west Trains Alliance, said: ‘It’s on the list of possibilities, but it’s one we won’t look at for a few years.’
Traders have mixed feelings about the possible closure.
Tony Broome, who owns Shoefix in High Street said it was ‘terrible idea’.
He said: ‘The lifeblood of the High Street is the road. We would lose through traffic and it would be disastrous for the High Street.’
Graham Hales, who runs Locks newsagents in Portsmouth Road, said: ‘I’m not surprised because of the number of incidents that happen out there at the gates.
‘I’ve seen people get caught between them.’
Mr Hales said the closure would improve safety, but take a toll on nearby businesses.
‘In some ways it’s inevitable, but I hope they put in something better for older people to get over the crossing.
‘The bridge that’s there now isn’t conducive to anyone with a wheelchair or a pushchair.’
Jamie Brenna, owner of Cosham Independent Barbers in High Street, said the danger was mostly down to people taking unnecessary risks.
He said: ‘Most of it is down to stupidity.
‘We’ve seen a few close calls when people try to rush through when the lights start flashing.’
Mr Brenna said he had heard the bus lane between Portsmouth Road and North Road could be opened up to cars as a diversion if the level crossing was closed.
Councillor Aiden Gray, who represents the Cosham ward on the city council, said safety concerns would have be balanced with the potential effect on traders.
He said: ‘We don’t want to be reckless about safety but at the same time you have to remember the area is a centre of commerce.’
Mr Denham said Network Rail had a 10-year programme of level crossing closures across the country because of safety fears.
He said: ‘The idea of closing level crossings is that we completely extinguish the risk.
‘I don’t want to put the wind up anyone in Cosham because it won’t happen tomorrow and indeed it may never happen.’
Mr Denham added: ‘It’s quite a long process and involved process and we have to bring people with us.’