Review meeting called after gridlock follows M27 tragedy

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A review meeting will be held after a woman’s death on the M27 led to hours of traffic chaos arounnd the Portsmouth area.

Over the next five hours, roads across the area ground to a halt.

Queues stretched to Portsmouth and beyond and back as far as Junction 8 eastbound.

The A3(M) was seriously affected.

And roads throughout the city and the surrounding area were at a standstill as drivers sought alternative routes.

Councillor Sean Woodward, executive member for transport at Hampshire County Council, said that officers worked on traffic light phasing using cameras to help clear congestion, but he said there was little they could do.

Cllr Woodward explained: ‘The terrible sadness is that this has happened at this time of year. I feel sorry for the friends and family members and the poor people that witnessed it.’

He said that a meeting would take place with the council, police and Highways England to assess how the situation was handled.

He said: ‘When the M27 is closed you realise just what an incredible volume of traffic it is taking off the A27.

‘Managed motorways and smart motorways all help, but when you have an incident like this the road has to be shut as it is a crime scene.’

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said the traffic management team at the council did all they could to improve the situation.

‘With the accident being at Junction 11, it meant that the queuing traffic on the M27 blocked all routes on and off the island,’ she said.

‘Our traffic management team at the council worked quickly and efficiently to make sure that information was in the public domain to allow people to choose their route home from work.

‘Being an island city on a peninsula, there is nothing we can do when something like this happens on the motorway.’

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said: ‘We were called at 1.26pm to reports of a person falling from a bridge over the M27 between Junction 11 and 12.

‘We sent a doctor, an officer in a rapid response vehicle and an ambulance.’

They performed treatment on the scene but could not save the woman.’

A police spokesman said: ‘We had a call at 1.27pm to between Junction 11 and 12 on the M27, near to Downend Road Bridge, Fareham, to reports of a body on the carriageway.’

Police closed Downend Road bridge and traffic backed up across Portsdown Hill as diversions were put in place.

Many people took to social media to express their upset. Hilary Orchard said: ‘What a terrible tragic thing to happen, especially at this time of year. With sympathies to the family.’

Lorena Andrew said: ‘Sorry to the person who died, thoughts are with their family and friends, this close to Christmas as well.’

Becky Polley posted: ‘Thoughts to the driver who will now have to live with this for the rest of his/her life through no fault of their own.’

Shelley Dobinson said: ‘OMG my thoughts are with their poor family, so tragic, God bless you.’

A police spokesman said an investigation was under way.