Drivers halted for hours after roadworks on island’s only access route

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ANGERS were voiced by many as the only road leading on and off Hayling Island was brought to a standstill by pre-planned roadworks.

Residents, councillors, business owners and associations spoke out after experiencing extreme delays on the A3023 with temporary traffic lights.

Portsmouth Water was granted permission by Hampshire County Council to commence work on Langstone Road at 9.30am, but stopped at 10.30am, when ‘it became clear that significant disruption was being caused’.

Chairwoman of the Hayling Island Residents Association, Anne Skennerton, said: ‘Traffic was backing up for three miles, meaning drivers were delayed for hours.

‘Portsmouth Water specifically avoided rush hour.

‘But despite this the island was brought to a standstill, because those coming on and going off are totally dependant on the single-access route.

‘This incident demonstrates the island’s vulnerability even in regards to minor, pre-planned works.

‘The disturbance is the result of a lack of joined-up thinking between the county council and Havant Borough Council.

‘Each side has failed to understand the impact of such an interference.’

Members of the public took to social media to ask why the works weren’t being carried out at night.

Hayling Island resident, and the managing director of L&S Waste Management, Mick Balch, said: ‘I had to tell colleagues to stop sending vehicles on to the island.

‘The knock-on effect of people not knowing they will be stuck in three hours of traffic is incalculable.’

The problem caused Hayling West ward member Councillor Andrew Lenaghan, and his wife, to miss her hospital appointment.

He thinks the work, which is due to end on February 15, could have been carried out without temporary traffic lights, and instead with use of the road’s central reservation to take traffic around the roadworks, with cones.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: ‘We didn’t object to off-peak working on the condition Portsmouth Water manually manage the traffic lights, to ensure traffic was kept moving at all times.

‘The disruption appears to be down to the company’s failure to properly do so and we have now restricted them to only working overnight.’

But Portsmouth Water, which put out a statement of apology, said: ‘We applied to work on Langstone Road with a specific exclusion between the hours of 6.30am-9.30am, and 4pm-6.30pm – due to it being a traffic sensitive road and as specified by Hampshire Highways.

‘They have responsibility for approving all works on the highway, and our application was approved by them to carry out the works outside of the times shown above.

‘It’s clear now that overnight working should have been considered.

‘The volume of traffic experienced had not been fully appreciated and while we complied with the guidance of avoiding peak times for work, it should not have been undertaken during the day.’

Read the company’s full statement at portsmouthwater.co.uk/news