Bus lanes plan for Fareham will ‘lead to traffic jams’

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PLANS to create three bus lanes in Fareham will lead to even more traffic congestion in the town, a council leader has warned.

Hampshire County Council wants to turn part of Portland Street – a busy road leading up to the Quay Street junction – into a bus lane. One lane of the A27 Western Way is also set to become buses-only, as well as a section from Fareham train station to Redlands Lane.

The aim is to improve the flow of buses as part of the £25m Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme between Fareham and Gosport.

The 18-month trial is due to start on April 1.

But Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward has raised concerns, saying it will cause traffic jams.

He said: ‘We think the trial should only be a maximum of three months rather than 18. We remain most concerned about clogging up residential streets.

‘It’s a bit of an unknown because we don’t know where the traffic will be diverted to.

‘The concern is that the town centre is already very busy and it won’t help if we start closing lanes down.

‘The county council is making desperate pace to get something sorted out by the time the BRT starts running.’

It comes after the county council scrapped plans to create a bus lane along West Street, which would have banned cars from the main route along the town centre.

Cllr Woodward added that he hopes the BRT will prove to be a success.

But motorists have raised fears over the plans.

Julie Homewood, 65, from Fareham, said: ‘It will be more congested than it was before.

‘It’s a bad idea. I can’t see how it’s going to work. I don’t know why they’re bringing in the bus route anyway.’

Irene Lowrie, 65, from Fareham, added: ‘It’s stupid.

‘There’s enough chaos on that roundabout as it is without buses being brought in and making it worse.’

Councillor Mel Kendal, who’s responsible for traffic and transport at the county council, said: ‘The borough council raised concerns about our original proposal for a bus gate in West Street, and asked us to investigate alternatives.

‘Our proposed alternative, developed in consultation with them and elected members for the area, involve improvements to Station roundabout and a bus lane on Western Way.

‘We expect to receive a formal response by the end of this week.

‘We will of course then consider any issues it has raised.’