Fault causes traffic chaos for Portsmouth commuters

STUCK Traffic queuing up along Eastern Road heading out of Portsmouth yesterday morning.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121328-9568)
STUCK Traffic queuing up along Eastern Road heading out of Portsmouth yesterday morning. Picture: Sarah Standing (121328-9568)
Cosham footbridge has been closed off to the public. Picture: Google Maps

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HOUR-long tailbacks caused misery for drivers after malfunctioning traffic lights brought commuters to a standstill.

Motorists travelling north up Portsmouth’s Eastern Road found themselves stuck in stationary traffic from 7am yesterday with many people late for work or the school run.

The signal fault was caused when resurfacing work affected the sequences of traffic lights on the Farlington roundabout.

Engineers from council sub-contractor Siemens have now fixed sequences to ease the problem and the council said the work was due to be completed by today.

Ronald Jeffery, 68, of Auriol Drive, Bedhampton, was driving from Southsea to Hilsea when he became stuck in traffic for more than an hour.

‘Normally it takes 20 minutes,’ he said. ‘It just looked like the traffic lights sequence had gone mad – it was only letting through five or six cars.

‘It was absolutely chaotic. Some people were trying to go around through Cosham but that became absolutely deadlocked as well.’

Taking her son to school, Sandra Sampson, 42, of Goldsmith Avenue, Southsea, said she considered turning around and driving home.

She said: ‘The worst thing was when it finally got going again and there was no sign of any accident or roadworks. All the parents at school were still talking about it when I arrived. It was ridiculous.’

By 11am the lights had been fixed and traffic was flowing smoothly but angry motorists had already taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations.

Chelsea Bluff wrote: ‘What’s going on at the Eastern Road?

‘I’m now late for work. Been stuck in this traffic for half hour!’

Andy Hind described the situation as a nightmare and Alan Brion Cheatle posted: ‘It’s just taken me 70 minutes to get from Southsea to Havant.’

Pam Turton, assistant head of transport at the council, said: ‘We apologise to everyone who experienced delays when exiting the city via the Eastern Road on Monday morning.

‘Fixed times have now been put on the lights, which should ease the problem, but there may still be some unavoidable delays at peak times until the resurfacing work is completed.’