Portsmouth City Council leader blasts contractor over delays to Elm Grove traffic lights

DELAYS The temporary traffic lights in Elm Grove, Southsea.  Picture: Sarah Standing (121345-8901)
DELAYS The temporary traffic lights in Elm Grove, Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing (121345-8901)
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A CONTRACTOR has come under fire for delays in getting new traffic lights up and running.

The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said electronics firm Siemens Mobility told him it was too busy in Southampton to carry out work in Portsmouth.

Now he has written the company’s chief executive to express his exasperation at the ‘lack of urgency’ displayed by its engineers.

He wrote that due to the slow rate of progress the junctions between Albert Road and Waverley Road, as well as Elm Grove and Grove Road, were stuck with traffic congestion caused by temporary traffic lights.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson also said that because the pedestrian system at Velder Avenue was not working, children from Miltoncross School were being forced to brave a busy junction without a crossing.

He wrote: ‘I am writing to you in exasperation as several sets of roadworks in Portsmouth have been on hold for some time.

‘A number of traffic signal orders have been placed with your organisation on behalf of Portsmouth City Council by our PFI contractor Colas.

‘Although you are subcontracting to Colas, the delays in completing the traffic signal works has had a significant impact on the residents of Portsmouth and we as a council have to address those problems.’

He added: ‘I am extremely frustrated with the lack of urgency that is being given to these orders and consequently leading me to receive several complaints from residents.’

Labour group leader and transport spokesman Jim Patey said even a 24-hour delay was too long if it affected road safety.

He said: ‘If the company is not fulfilling its obligations then we should look again at their contract.’

A spokesman for Siemens said that some of the work was due to be completed this week and all the junctions would soon be working.

He said: ‘Siemens continues to have a good working relationship with both Portsmouth City Council and their highways partner, Colas, and can confirm the company is not in dispute with either party.

‘The original programme of works has suffered various delays outside of the direct control of Siemens.

‘We can confirm that all parties are working together effectively to conclude the programme of works as quickly as possible.’