Portsmouth traffic bosses praise work to reduce congestion on M275 after crash

STUCK Queues leaving the port. Picture: Sarah Standing
STUCK Queues leaving the port. Picture: Sarah Standing
A South Western Railway train at Waterloo

Relief for Portsmouth commuters as this week’s South Western Railway strike is called off

  • But Tory planning boss forced to give up attending City Deal meeting in Southampton after being stuck in queues
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TRAFFIC bosses insist they did everything in their power to ensure delays were kept to a minimum.

Portsmouth City Council says it worked ‘successfully’ with the police and road contractors Colas to ensure the M275 was reopened quickly.

Councillor Ken Ellcome, Portsmouth City Council’s Tory cabinet member for traffic and transport, said: ‘Unfortunately traffic collisions will happen, but we have a variety of traffic management plans in place to make sure we have the necessary resilience to handle situations and resolve them as quickly as we can.

‘Our traffic management team closely monitors the road network at all times and also works with event organisers to ensure people can get in and of the city as easily as possible.’ Director of transport, Alan Cufley, added: ‘We’re very grateful for people’s understanding and patience while dealing with a difficult situation.’

But Tory planning boss, Cllr Luke Stubbs, ‘gave up’ trying to make a meeting in Southampton about the regeneration of Portsmouth due to the congestion.

‘I was supposed to be going to a City Deal advisory meeting at 2pm but I gave up and came back,’ he said.

‘The easiest route for me is to go along the seafront, then up Hampshire Terrace and Anglesea Road. But the road was closed at Anglesea Road, pushing the traffic down Winston Churchill Avenue, and I didn’t know at that stage what the incident was.’

Businesses wait and see

BUSINESS leaders say they won’t know for a few days whether trade was adversely affected by the traffic chaos.

Colin Wilding, centre director for Gunwharf Quays, said the complex was busy, but that was not down to the M275 situation.

But he said he would be able to get a better picture when Gunwharf gets its weekly sales and footfall numbers on Monday.

Staff at Cascades said it was too early to say whether shops had suffered.

An emergency response done well

NONE of us need reminding how finely balanced the routes in and out of our city are.

But the overturned lorry which caused yesterday’s tailbacks illustrated perfectly the fragility of Portsmouth’s roads.

So, council officers, police, and other emergency responders please stand up.

Because I think we owe you a round of applause.

I had a front row seat of the events on the M275 yesterday, being as I was stuck in the first few rows of vehicles behind those involved in the unfortunate collision.

What I witnessed was the perfect professionalism of all those involved in the initial response and in clearing up the aftermath.

Emergency services were on the scene within minutes, assessing the immediate situation and ensuring all those involved were safe.

Once that was done, police and highways officials set about mitigating the effects on the rest of the city and turning around the hundreds of vehicles trapped behind the blockage.

Yes, the incident had a knock-on effect for the rest of the city, bringing roads to a halt and causing cars to queue up for miles.

But it is a testament to the emergency plans in place and the hard work of those involved that by the time the evening rush hour arrived, many of the extraordinary delays had been cleared.

And credit is also due to motorists themselves, who to my eye treated each other courteously and helpfully in what must have been a very frustrating situation for some.

Well done all round. - Sam Bannister