LET’S sort out this congestion nightmare now.
That’s the stern message from leaders at Havant Borough Council who are determined to put an end to crippling gridlock that besieges the town during each rush hour.
Every day hundreds of motorists get caught up in long queues along Harts Farm Way and into the ‘teardrop’ roundabout that connects the road to the A27 and A3(M).
With a new Marks & Spencer set to open next spring and more businesses moving on to the Broadmarsh industrial estate, the council has made it a priority to sort out the problem before it gets any worse.
But the authority is reliant on Hampshire County Council, the highway authority, on drawing up a solution – and Havant leaders say it is taking far too long.
One feasibility study has been done, suggesting it could cost £2m to sort the problem.
Now another feasibility study has been ordered, but the results will not be known until at least March.
Councillor David Guest, who is in charge of regeneration in Havant, said: ‘This has been going on for years. It can’t go on like this. We have to draw it to a close. More resources need to be put into it.
‘We need to get it sorted – it’s totally unacceptable. We need to find a solution and we are pressing very hard for it.’
Cllr Guest said it had been difficult to get answers from highway officials at the Winchester-based county council.
He said Havant council was prepared to put in £1m of its cash from the Community Infrastructure Levy – a fund drawn from developers’ contributions – into highway improvements.
The work could involve ‘intelligent’ traffic lights at the mini-roundabout that joins Harts Farm Way and Southmoor Lane and new slipways. Improvements would also be needed at the ‘teardrop’ roundabout.
Cllr Guest added: ‘As chairman of the Broadmarsh Travel Forum we know that businesses down there are really suffering because of the traffic delays.
‘Whatever it costs, we want to know what the solution is and we will go after the money. We will chase down and get the money from somewhere.’
Cllr Sean Woodward, in charge of transport at Hampshire County Council, told The News the authority was already investing more than £3m in easing Havant’s congestion at the Asda roundabout – a government-backed scheme costing £7.1m.
He said he would be speaking to his officers to get an update about Harts Farm Way.
However, last night those officers were still in meetings and there was no-one available to make a comment.