Council criticises ‘inconsiderate’ drivers as row continues over Portsmouth city centre traffic snarl-ups

Saturday lunchtime traffic on Rudmore Roundabout.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150032-6)
Saturday lunchtime traffic on Rudmore Roundabout.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150032-6)
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FURIOUS drivers fed up with long-running problems travelling into Portsmouth are today sending out a stark message – this must end now.

Motorists outraged over daily queues and congestion on roads into the city centre say it has become a ‘disaster area’ and something drastic must happen to eliminate problems once and for all.

They believe the introduction of traffic lights on Rudmore Roundabout and a new bus lane to coincide with the launch of the park-and-ride bus service last year is the root cause.

But Portsmouth City Council insists journey times have not increased significantly and after making improvements, traffic within the city centre now moves more freely.

The authority blames ‘inconsiderate drivers’ for not helping matters by trying to beat queues by coming off the M275 at Rudmore before re-joining.

Motorist John Sunderland, 56, of Tipner, said: ‘The situation is awful.

‘That roundabout was never too much of a problem, but now it’s a disaster.

‘Enough is enough, definitely – it’s a disaster area down there.

‘You only have to see the queues from Whale Island early in the morning that stretch right around the roundabout.

‘The worst part is there’s a priority lane coming out of the ferryport, so for anybody coming out of North End, they have only got one lane to get on the motorway.’

Wendy Coates, of Hayling Island, said she and her husband Richard are fed up waiting in queues and instead go to Chichester as it’s quicker.

Mrs Coates, 69, said: ‘It’s very difficult. We have been here 18 months and we just cannot believe how bad the traffic is going into Portsmouth.

‘The council hasn’t worked out how to get the traffic in and out smoothly.

‘We prefer to go into Chichester now as it is so horrendous. What should be a 20-minute journey ends up being an hour-and-a-half.’

An Anchorage Park resident, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘Whether it has been mucking around with roundabouts or traffic lights, bus lanes, cycle lane, there has been more money wasted on traffic there than anywhere else in the city.

‘The M275 is the final nail in the coffin.

‘What should be a 15 to 20-minute commute from Anchorage Park to Portsea, which includes a seven to 10-minute drive along the M275, can take an hour on a bad day.’

Andy Sidaway, 50, of Gosport, said: ‘If I was a visitor coming to Portsmouth for the first time, I’d be disappointed.

‘I use the ferry to go into Portsmouth to avoid the traffic.

‘Unless the council comes up with drastic measures to move cars around Portsmouth freely, the situation will never improve.’

Simon Moon, head of transport and environment, said: ‘A lot of time has been spent looking at the road layout at Rudmore roundabout and into the city centre.

‘We have made improvements where we can and the journey time data collected shows times are not considerably longer than they were previously.

‘Every major city in the country has traffic queues at peak times.

‘Portsmouth’s queues are now at the end of the M275 meaning areas in the city centre like Marketway can flow more freely.’