Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth council leader's 'appalling' M275 traffic apology

"Appalling" traffic problems caused by roadworks on the M275 in Hampshire at the weekend have a prompted a council leader to apologise.

Portsmouth City Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said thousands of people were affected and many drivers had been forced to abandon their cars.

Motorist Jennifer Upton, of Horndean, claimed the fumes generated during the jam brought on an asthma attack.

Colas, the council's highways contractor, has also apologised.

'Absolutely dire'

Prior to the roadworks, to replace existing waterproofing on Pounds Access Bridge and Tipner Interchange Bridge North and South, the council had warned drivers to expect changes to the layout of the motorway, between 20:00 BST on Friday and 05:30 on Monday.

These included the closure of one lane on the northbound carriageway and the full closure of the northbound carriageway, with a diversion through Stamshaw.

Ms Upton said: "The traffic was absolutely dire - I couldn't get out, I couldn't get anywhere.

"The fumes absolutely set my chest off and I found myself having a major asthma attack."

'Assure motorists'

Mr Vernon-Jackson said: "The traffic situation last weekend in Portsmouth was quite appalling, and caused real problems to thousands of local residents and visitors.

"I am trying to get to the bottom of what happened and why.

"There clearly are lessons to be learned from the appalling management of roadworks, and I apologise."

He said he could not give "categorical assurance" something like this would not happen again, but added he would do his best to make sure it did not.

As a "gesture of goodwill" he said all parking fines issued on Saturday had been cancelled.

Ray Muscat, deputy business unit manager of Colas, said: "We're very sorry for the disruption our work caused at the weekend.

"We would like to assure motorists that no further work of this nature will be done until we are satisfied methods have been reviewed and the likelihood for traffic problems is minimised."

Further maintenance work had been scheduled for the weekend of 12 July.

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