MILLIONS of pounds are being wasted by fuel-guzzling vehicles left trapped on the area’s gridlocked network of roads.
The Portsmouth area has today been named as one of the worst places in the UK for congestion, with a new study revealing the woes are at their worst in almost a decade.
Here are the 25 delay hotspots named by TomTom, ranked by their levels of congestion:
1- Gosport Road, Fareham
2- Church Street/Commercial Road, Portsmouth
3- Park Road North/Elm Lane, Havant
4- Anglesea Road/Alfred Road, Portsmouth
5- Eastern Road, Portsmouth
6- Eastern Way/Gosport Road, Fareham
7- Fareham Road, Fareham (north of Bridegmary)
8- Wallington Roundabout/A27, Fareham
10- Fareham Road, Fareham (south of Bridgemary)
11- Southampton Road, Portsmouth (westbound)
12- Miel End Road/M275, Portsmouth
13- Milton Road/Eastern Road, Portsmouth
15- Langstone Road/Park Road South, Havant
16- Gosport Road/Newgate Lane, Fareham
17- Southampton Road, Portsmouth (eastbound)
18- Anglesea Road, Portsmouth
19- Maurepas Way/Hambledon Road, Waterlooville
20- Cams Hill/Portchester, Portchester
21- Eastern Road/Grove Road, Portsmouth
22- Kingston Road/London Road, Portsmouth
23- Rudmore Roundabout/Mile End Road, Portsmouth
24- London Road/Northern Parade, Portsmouth
25- Holbrook Road/Arundel Street, Portsmouth
The issue is blighting businesses, costing firms upwards of £10m a year in lost productivity, research has suggested.
And as the crisis on the roads deepens, politicians and businesses have united, calling for urgent action to be taken.
Fareham MP Suella Fernandes said: ‘For years now people, families and businesses have had to deal with severe congestion on our roads. Good, reliable roads are vital for supporting businesses to grow, creating jobs and for a prosperous local economy. But for too long we have seen under-investment.’
The figures, released by TomTom Traffic Index, ranked Portsmouth as Britain’s 19th most congested area.
Statistics showed traffic had risen in the past 12 months by two per cent, with drivers now spending an extra 102 hours in gridlock each year, facing 25 per cent longer journey times than before.
It’s a toll travel experts from TomTom have said is costing the economy £10m a year in lost productivity.
Bosses at Portsmouth-based taxi firm Andicars agree and say the situation is reaching crisis point.
Mark Mudie, marketing manager for the private hire company, said the group’s fleet of 160 drivers were burning through gallons of diesel while caught in traffic every day – costing the company an estimated £436,800 a year in wasted fuel.
He added the firm was forking out thousands of pounds for hybrid and electric cars in a bid to offset the spiralling fuel costs – and to make them greener.
‘Unless we do something completely off-the-wall, we’re going to have serious problems for the next couple of years,’ Mr Mudie said.
‘Most of the drivers we have put in about £350 of diesel in their cars every week. You have got to be using 15 or 20 per cent of that waiting in traffic.
‘It’s a scary thing. It’s our drivers that are being hit in the pockets.’
The top five most congested routes, according to the research were:
n The A32 at both Gosport Road, in Fareham, and Fareham Road, in Gosport.
n Marketway, Landport, Portsmouth
n Park Road North, Havant
n Anglesea Road, Landport
n Eastern Road, Portsmouth
Other hot spots were, Kingston Road, in Buckland and London Road, in Hilsea.
Maureen Frost, deputy chief executive of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said the snarl-ups needed to be urgently addressed.
‘Congestion is a nightmare,’ she said. ‘All it takes is one accident or one set of road works to create a wealth of delays.
‘It’s the unpredictability of the roads that is a real issue for many businesses. One day it could take 40 minutes to get somewhere, the next it’s two hours.’
She added residents needed to ‘play their part’ in beating the problem, and urged people to rely less on their cars and more on public transport.
Councillor Lynne Stagg, the former traffic and transport boss at Portsmouth City Council agreed. She added: ‘I’m surprised Portsmouth isn’t higher on the list. The traffic really is terrible. ‘
Pam Turton, Portsmouth City Council’s assistant director transport, has encouraged people to use sustainable transport to get about the area.
She added: ‘The council has recently allocated £15m towards a new road layout for the city centre, with the hope to secure additional funding, to further improve the flow of traffic for all forms of transport in and out of Portsmouth.’
As reported, upgrades to the M27, to transform parts into a smart motorway, will begin in early 2018. Plans for the long-awaited Stubbington Bypass were also approved this year.