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Roadworks on hold to stop city grinding to a halt
6:00am Monday 20th January 2014 in News
IT is a stretch of road just a few feet long – but it could have caused vast swathes of Southampton to grind to a halt once again.
Roadworks were scheduled to take place today at a busy city junction already suffering tailbacks from major works nearby.
The city’s choked up roads have been plunged into chaos in the last two months following major works on the Itchen Bridge and in Platform Road and cruise ships arriving at Dock Gate 4.
Southampton City Council has introduced a raft of measures to ease congestion and monitor traffic flows.
Residents say Newtown Road is already experiencing tailbacks from Itchen Bridge on busy days and queues from works being carried out by Southern Water in nearby Portsmouth Road.
The delayed works were scheduled for five days to widen and raise the height of a small section of pavement at the Wrights Hill junction in preparation for a new disabled friendly bus shelter.
It would have included a lane closure controlled by four way traffic lights into Weston Lane and Upper Weston Lane between 8am and 4pm on weekdays.
But the city council and its roadworks contractor Balfour Beatty confirmed the works were being pushed back six weeks after delays in receiving the new shelter.
A 60-year-old Newtown Road resident who wished to remain anonymous said it had averted traffic chaos in an area close to two schools and Sholing railway station.
He said: “We are just so glad because they are not making themselves any friends with the works already going on.
Hopefully they’ve seen sense.”
Donna Richards of Viking Cars in Bursledon, whose drivers regularly use the route and say the Itchen Bridge scheme is hitting their trade, said: “It’s very lucky they have been cancelled because it would have been absolute chaos especially in rush hour.”
Tory leader Councillor Royston Smith, below, said: “There has been a great deal of disruption the last few weeks and it would have been sensible anyway to delay some of these things to give people s o m e respite.”
Woolston ward councillor Warwick Payne, below, said the new bus stop was not the most crucial of needs at the junction anyway and is calling for a mini roundabout there.
But he said: “The key thing is to get roadworks completed as quickly as possible with as little delay as possible.”
A council spokeswoman confirmed the works were being pushed back six weeks but claimed the Itchen Bridge disruptions had only held up traffic there for the first week and the Portsmouth Road works were causing the most problems.
A spokeswoman for Balfour Beatty said: “The bus shelter could not be supplied in time and that is why we have postponed it.”
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