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Long traffic delays in Southampton city centre
2:40pm Wednesday 11th December 2013 in News
MOTORISTS suffered long delays in the centre of Southampton today.
A combination of major roadworks, heavy fog and Christmas shoppers pouring into the town conspired to cause traffic chaos.
Drivers have reported a wait of up to an hour to get across the Itchen Bridge into the city centre, and there are also long delays around Dock Gate Four.
One driver said it took an hour to get from Platform Road to Western Esplanade.
To make matters worse, shortly before noon the traffic lights at Terminus Terrace jammed on red - forcing contractors to draft in staff using Stop and Go boards to try and keep the traffic moving again.
Balfour Beatty stressed staff were on the scene immediately after noticing the lights had stopped working and they were fixed shortly after 1.30pm.
It comes just two weeks after the city ground to a halt, with three cruise ships in port and security checks at the Eastern Docks.
Once again, there are cruise ships in dock again, although not as many as last time.
Today's delays mainly affected the Platform Road, Terminus Terrace and Canute Road areas, as well as the Itchen Bridge and West Quay Road.
The city's roads are already under pressure due to large numbers of Christmas shoppers flocking to Southampton and large scale roadworks on Platform Road and the western end of the Itchen Bridge.
Changes were made to how the light sequencing works at the roadworks on Saltmarsh Lane, at the western end of the Itchen Bridge, in an attempt to clear the traffic.
By 2.40pm, Kingsway heading towards Marsh Lane and help Terminus Terrace was finally running freely, congestion on Central Bridge and West Quay Road was 'easing' and there were short delays on Town Quay, according to the city council's highways department.
The delays add to the misery this morning for travellers, with delays at Southampton Airport due to the thick fog and possible delays on the Red Funnel ferry services.
This morning, eighteen flights were delayed and no planes landed at Southampton.
A spokesman for Southampton City Council's roadworks contractors, Balfour Beatty, said: “We are doing all we can and are extending the closure of Saltmarsh Road into the morning until it has cleared.
“There has been a higher amount of traffic on the roads possibly down to the Christmas shopping season.”
The distruption caused delays for buses in the area, with First Bus reporting delays of up to 25 minutes on its 3, 6, 11, 12, 13, 4, 4a, 4b and X4 services crossing Central Bridge.
Spokeswoman Alison Henderson said: "It's had a knock on effect on our services especially going from East to West.
"It's unavoidable and all we can do is apologise to our customers."
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