Council in fresh bid to cut Eastern Road congestion

CHANGES The Eastern Road, Portsmouth.
CHANGES The Eastern Road, Portsmouth.

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HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds is to be spent on returning Eastern Road in Portsmouth to a dual carriageway for its full length.

The city council will spend £470,000 on a series of changes to improve traffic flow on what is the city’s second-busiest road used by 18,000-20,000 vehicles per day.

Its leader for traffic and transport Councillor Jason Fazackarley yesterday agreed to the plans, which will see engineers try to reduce congestion at peak times.

The scheme, which is scheduled to start early next month, is likely to see the southbound section of Eastern Road between Sword Sands Road and Eastern Avenue made a dual carriageway for the first time since the late 1990s.

It was changed for safety reasons, but because of consistent congestion, especially at peak times, the council plans to reverse the decision.

Council traffic systems engineer Adam Bunce said: ‘It will help traffic flow more easily and make the road less congested. It becomes blocked in the morning and evenings, so we’re working to make that better for all road users.’

The work is scheduled to take place from early November to December 1, then stop for Christmas and New Year, before starting again in January and ending at the end of March, 2012.

Baffins Councillor Lynne Stagg objected to the plan.

She said: ‘The dual carriageway was removed for safety reasons and it should stay in place. Safety is important, and people already travel too fast on Eastern Road. If other measures can improve traffic flow, we should keep the section single-carriageway.’

Traffic engineers agreed, saying the dual carriageway will only be reinstated if other proposals, including removing a crossings at Sword Sands Road, and Stride Avenue, as well as extending Eastern Road’s 30mph zone 500m north and removing traffic lights at Kirpal Way and East Shore Way, fail to improve traffic flow.

Mr Bunce said: ‘We will be able to see very quickly whether they deliver enough improvement.’

He added that the road would stay open throughout the scheme, and work would be carried out from 9.30am-2.30pm, or at night where possible.