A SCHEME to tackle crippling congestion problems in Havant centre could happen this year.
It was thought that it would cost around £1m to sort out the gridlock that often besieges the town centre and the Broadmarsh Industrial Estate during morning and evening rush hours.
But a feasibility study by Hampshire County Council is set to reveal that the transport plan may cost £250,000.
It means that the scheme could come to fruition this year.
Havant Borough Council may be able to help pay for the bulk of the scheme from its community infrastructure levy fund – a pot of money saved up from developers’ contributions.
The work would involve ‘intelligent’ traffic lights at the mini-roundabout that joins Harts Farm Way and Southmoor Lane.
New slipways could also be introduced at the junction to get traffic moving more quickly.
There are currently long queues as thousands of people travel to and from businesses in Langstone Technology Park and around Broadmarsh.
The work is considered vital as more cars are set to be on the roads with new stores opening in Solent Road – including a proposed Marks & Spencer – and more industrial units set to move on to the former council depot, off Harts Farm Way.
Businesses were relieved something could finally happen.
David Walther, centre manager for Basepoint Business Centre, off Harts Farm Way, said: ‘I welcome this move.
‘I think it will keep the traffic flowing rather than sitting.
‘I know there’s a lot of frustration with people getting in in the morning and getting out in the evening.
‘It will get people out on to the motorway and arterial roads quicker.’
He added: ‘M&S is going to bring in a lot more shoppers.
‘It’s not going to be just at rush hour peak time, it’s going to be during the day as well.’
Councillor David Guest, who chairs the Broadmarsh Travel Forum, said: ‘We are supposed to have the feasibility study this month. I definitely want the work to start this year.
‘I want it completed this year.
‘It’s a matter of getting the design and making sure it’s compliant with highways.’
He added: ‘It’s a priority for us. It’s got to be sorted out. We can’t go on like this.’
Cllr Jackie Branson, whose ward includes the town centre, added the scheme would be an ‘asset’ to Havant.