Contractor Says Sorry For M275 Chaos

10 July 2013, 19:05 | Updated: 10 July 2013, 19:10

Colas has apologised to residents and drivers in Portsmouth for the severe congestion within the city on the weekend of 29 June, and promised to do everything within its power to prevent it happening again.

The apology followed a joint investigation by the contractor and Portsmouth City Council into the work causing the traffic problems which found the cause to be poor planning and traffic management by Colas. 

The lane closures which caused the problem were to allow the waterproofing of three of the M275's bridges and installation of drainage near Rudmore roundabout.

The essential waterproofing work has to be done every 40 years or so. It ensures the bridges keep their structural strength and can only be done in good weather.

In addition Colas did not make sufficient allowance for the increased traffic likely to be generated by the Armed Forces Day celebrations taking place at the dockyard.

Ensign is in charge of Portsmouth’s road network under a unique PFI contract.  Colas is the contractor undertaking all works and activities which sees them take on responsibility for managing work throughout the city and ensuring traffic flows as well as possible. It is also part of the joint venture VolkerFitzpatrickColas (VFC) which is building the new motorway junction and park-and-ride in Tipner.

Brian Hicks Ensign’s managing director said:

"We're extremely sorry for the problems the work caused, there were definite oversights on our part and we will be making sure we're better prepared for all future work.

"The congestion caused was unacceptable and we will do everything within our power to make sure there is no repeat of it."

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: "I'm very sorry this situation occurred and pleased Colas has recognised the responsibility lies with them for doing this essential work at a time when they knew there would be increased traffic flow.

"I expect them to have systems in place within their organisation so they never again cause problems like this for residents and businesses in Portsmouth."

Further waterproofing on the M275 scheduled for this weekend [July 12-14] has been postponed while plans to reduce the impact of future work are being developed. New dates and details will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.