The leader of Portsmouth City Council today claimed chaos on nPortsmouth’s roads was caused by the Highways Agency’s refusal to put signs on the A27.
Amid complaints from drivers that there was inadequate warning of gas leak works diversions at Hilsea, Gerald Vernon Jackson said that the Government agency would not allow notification signs on the busy trunk road.
‘They would not allow us to put up signs telling people there is a problem,’ he said.
‘They have adamantly refused every request we have made. So there were no signs at all on the A27.
‘And they own the slip road all the way down to the roundabout.
‘That is why they should be abolished. The local authority who looks after most of the road in an area should be given responsibility for all of them.
‘They are an unelected quango and I will be writing to the minister to highlight the problems we have had today.
‘These are emergency repairs and they have to be done.
‘We all suffer from the fact that there are only three roads in to the city. That always makes it very difficult.
‘The city just about works with the three roads and the amount of traffic we have got. If you close one of them we know that it snarls up every time.
‘If you give people a lot of notice you can sometimes get around it, but it is going to cause problems until we can get the road reopened.
‘If we can improve the diversion signs to help people get around it then we will. We are looking into that now’
The council’s Lib Dem cabinet member for transport, Cllr Jason Fazackarley, said he was stuck in the congestion himself last night.
‘It was pretty gruesome,’ he said. ‘But we don’t really have much choice.
‘The location of these roadworks is always going to cause problems, but we are meeting this morning to discuss what is happening. I will have more of an update soon.’
Simon Moon, the council’s senior transport officer, was meeting with his team and highways contractor Colas today to discuss the morning’s problems.