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A new road designed to cut congestion and pollution in central Portsmouth has been given the green light.
The Trafalgar Gate link road will be a direct route for naval base traffic using the M275 motorway to enter or leave the city.
It will cut the amount of traffic in the city centre, as well as boosting business at the dockyard by providing a more direct transport link.
Members of Portsmouth City Council’s independent planning committee today gave conditional permission to the scheme. Work to build it will start as soon as possible, with completion expected by the end of the year.
The scheme, proposed by the council, will cost about £7.6m. The council has put in about £1.8m, with the government providing the rest.
A new 140 metre link road will be built between Flathouse Road and Mile End Road with four lanes (a dual carriageway in each direction).
A new right-turn lane on Mile End Road will also be built, where the central reservation is now, allowing southbound traffic to enter the naval base. This will be built at the same time as the link road, thanks to the agreement of the Ministry of Defence, who have provided funding.
There will also be routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
The new right-turn into the base will be controlled by traffic lights, but studies have shown these will not have a great impact on traffic leaving the city.
Cllr Mike Hancock, Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “This is good news for the city, the Royal Navy and the region,
“This new road will reduce congestion by creating a more direct route to the naval base. At the moment, drivers coming off the M275 and going to Trafalgar Gate have to go right round the Church Street roundabout and double-back along Prospect Road and Flathouse Road. HGVs can’t do this, and have to use Unicorn Gate, in the city centre.
“We can also look forward to better road safety and air quality for nearby residents.
“A better connection between the motorway network and the dockyard will help business and job creation.”
Commodore Rob Thompson, Naval Base Commander, said: “This is excellent news - the new road will bring benefits not only to the base but to the city as a whole. It will ease congestion for the thousands of workers and visitors to the base every day which will have a positive knock-on effect for motorists travelling to other parts of the city and for the local economy.”
Residents who would like more information can contact the council’s Trafalgar Gate link road project team: (023) 9283 4790 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Questions Answered
What happens next?
Demolition will take place and traffic management will be put in, followed by site security and site clearance. The sequence will then be: Drainage, diversion of services, earthworks, kerbing, surfacing and installation of traffic lights.
Will there be traffic disruption during construction?
When the link road and the right-turn carriageway are joined to Mile End Road, this will mean closing one lane of Mile End Road northbound and one lane southbound, for safety. This will usually be done outside peak commuter times. Rarely, two lanes in one direction may be closed, for essential work such as surfacing and laying services across the road, but this will happen at night.
Access to businesses and the naval base will be maintained at all times.
How will the scheme reduce congestion?
At the moment traffic going to Trafalgar Gate has to queue along Mile End Road southbound, go around the Church Street roundabout, back up Mile End Road northbound and then to Trafalgar Gate via Prospect Road and Flathouse Road. The new scheme will give traffic direct access to and from Trafalgar Gate Link road, reducing pressure on the Church Street (ABC) roundabout.
Will the congestion be moved further north?
The right-hand-turn section will be a dual carriageway, built where the central reservation on Mile End Road is now. Traffic going to Trafalgar Gate, instead of queueing on Mile End Road southbound, will be transferred to the right-turn dual carriageway. This will free up space on Mile End Road southbound.
Why isn’t the right turn dual carriageway an overpass?
We considered this option, but it would have needed a bridge with at least 5.7m clearance, and with the ramps and embankments required there isn't enough space to meet current design standards. It would have also made the right-turn lane unaffordable.
Why isn’t the right turn lane an underpass?
We considered this option, but it would have needed headroom of at least 5.7m. As with the overpass option, with the ramps and cuttings required, there isn't enough space to meet current design standards. And it would be even more expensive than an overpass, because it would mean moving a major underground cable near Prospect House. Moving this cable could also disrupt power supplies to a large area of Portsmouth.
Will the new traffic lights interrupt traffic flow?
We will be diverting traffic directly into Trafalgar Gate, relieving congestion elsewhere. Because of this, and because the timings on the traffic lights will be carefully judged, we believe journey times will be about the same as they are now on that stretch of road.
How will the traffic lights be phased?
Northbound traffic from the city centre will only have to wait at a red light if the signals detect a queue of traffic waiting to enter or leave the naval base. If the signals detect that no traffic is queuing to enter or leave Trafalgar Gate, then the lights will stay green for northbound traffic leaving the city.
When northbound traffic from the city centre has a green light, traffic entering or leaving Trafalgar Gate will be held on a red light, Traffic going into the city centre (southbound on Mile End Road) will not have to go through traffic lights at this point.
Will there be pedestrian/cyclist crossings?
There will be two surface toucan crossings at both ends of the link road - at Prospect House and just outside Trafalgar Gate - for pedestrians and cyclists. An underpass option was considered, but because of the major underground power supply, the lack of space and the prohibitive cost, we decided it wasn’t possible.