MOTORISTS at the end of their tether over controversial changes to Portsmouth’s roads will finally have their prayers answered with a proposed new layout.
The city council has decided to amend the layout of the M275 route into the city by shortening the bus lane on Mile End Road.
The move would see a section of bus lane between Havisham Road and Church Street removed and used by general traffic, allowing drivers coming from both the M275 and Rudmore roundabout more time to get into the correct lane before reaching the Church Street roundabout.
The hatched-off area between the lanes will also be reduced in size.
Councillor Donna Jones, the Tory leader of the council, said: ‘Much of our road network works very well but there are some definite problems on the M275 which we want to address.
‘By removing a section of the bus lane we can give drivers more flexibility at the bottom of the motorway when they merge into traffic and hopefully this will alleviate some delays.
‘To a certain extent Portsmouth can be a victim of its own success because attracting new businesses and leisure visitors causes more people to drive into the city but as an administration we are committed to keeping roads moving as much as possible and listening to drivers’ concerns.
Cllr Jones said she was ‘frustrated’ with the previous Lib Dem administration for its handling of the new park-and-ride bus lanes.
‘The park and ride and bus lane would have been absolutely justified had we had the Northern Quarter development but they didn’t deliver on that,’ she added.
‘I don’t want Portsmouth’s roads grinding to a halt because of a bus that travels up and down it a few times an hour.’
But Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, who ran the previous Lib Dem administration, said the park and ride was essential to the future development of the city.
‘The park and ride was a condition for us getting the government to pay for Tipner,’ he said.
‘Without the park and ride the city council would have had to rip up the cheque for £23m that they gave us.
‘And we cannot deliver the plan for Tipner, with all the homes and jobs that will provide, without that junction being built.
‘But I’m not going to get into party politics – this is about doing what is best for the people of Portsmouth. The proposed layout changes are worth trying.’
The plan will go before a council meeting for approval as an experimental traffic order will be required to make the changes. The meeting is expected to be held during February or March and should the work go ahead it is expected to be implemented some time in the spring.