PLANS for a proposed quick exit bus route before a busy Fareham roundabout take a step forward at a council meeting next week.
Hampshire County Council, which looks after the area’s roads, is considering plans to spend around £1m on a bus gate west of Quay Street roundabout, to improve bus access onto the A27.
Executive member for transport Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘I want to get buses off of Quay Street roundabout.
‘The only negative side is that I will have to confirm that the bus lane will become a permanent feature, which I will do on the understanding that the bus lane will move over to the left of the A27 allowing the two existing lanes to be used unimpeded by buses. At the moment, having just one carriageway causes congestion and there’s plenty of space to the side to build another lane.’
A new bus lane will be built in the highway verge next to the A27 westbound carriageway.
The new bus gate is expected to speed up the Bus Rapid Transport link, known as Eclipse, between Fareham and Gosport by up to 10 minutes.
Buses will be able to leave the bus station, bypass Quay Street roundabout and join straight on to the A27.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘This will make the Eclipse even more attractive. We have seen a vast increase of bus users since it was introduced, in surveys done by the council we have found that some people are choosing the bus over their own car, which is a huge achievement.’
Other councillors welcomed the plans. Fareham Crofton councillor Christopher Wood said: ‘The BRT route causes more traffic on the A27 than it solves. This new idea to get buses off Quay Street roundabout makes perfect sense.
‘Everyone questions why they are spending 10 minutes queuing with an empty lane next to them. I think the situation will improve once there are two lanes again.’
Ward councillor Paul Whittle said: ‘If it helps the flow of traffic then we should give it a go. The BRT has been successful so we don’t want to remove it, but we do want to keep traffic flowing. If this gives that opportunity, then I welcome it.’
Cllr Woodward will authorise documents on Tuesday at Winchester City Council and the plans will then go to a design team.
After that, the plans will go to consultation, and work could start next year.