ROADWORKS in Fratton will be tackled during longer hours after the leader of Portsmouth City Council expressed his frustration.
Southern Gas Network has now pledged to operate between 7am to 7pm on weekdays and 9am to 4pm on weekends in a bid to speed up the replacement of the gas main at Fratton Bridge.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson was buoyed by the news that came as a result of a letter he wrote to the gas company.
He said: ‘I am really pleased if we have managed to make sure the traffic in that area is reduced. Hopefully the longer working hours will mean they will finish earlier.
‘It was a real pain around there in the morning. And the problem was they weren’t even working on it all day. It just needs to get done. I now avoid that area completely.
‘I understand that it is a gas main and that needs to get done right.
‘But I was driving there at around 4pm or 5pm and there was no-one working.’
A spokesperson from SGN said: ‘We’re aware that this is a busy route, so have planned our work, traffic management and local diversions in close consultation with Portsmouth City Council.
‘We’re also working extended hours, between 7am to 7pm on weekdays and between 9am to 4pm on weekends, to complete our project as soon as possible.
‘The first phase is currently ongoing and has been scheduled now to avoid the higher traffic flow during summer and the football season.
‘Due to the location and size of our gas mains, it has been necessary to restrict traffic to one lane at the Fratton Bridge exit of the roundabout. This will also ensure everyone’s safety around our work area.’
They added: ‘We’re currently working in the northbound lane and will swap to the southbound lane during the second half of this phase.
‘We’re already using specialist equipment to work as quickly as possible and to reduce the size of our excavations during this phase which is on schedule and, all being well, will be completed by Monday, July 16.’
During the school summer holidays work will then begin on the opposite side of the roundabout at the Fawcett Road exit.