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1 July 2013, 15:25
The Leader of Portsmouth City Council has apologised for traffic problems caused by work on the M275 at the weekend and cancelled all parking fines issued on Saturday as a "gesture of goodwill".
There was fury from drivers stuck for hours on Saturday. Thousands of people were visiting the city because of the warm weather and Armed Forces day events. More than 12-thousand went to see two warships which were open to the public in the naval base for the weekend.
Cllr Gerald 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.
"Many people had to abandon their cars just because it was impossible to get anywhere by car. Therefore I have issued an instruction that all parking tickets issued on Saturday will be cancelled. It does not seem right that people who had to abandon their cars should be fined for doing so.
"The front page of The News newspaper in Portsmouth today says: 'This will not happen again'. I cannot give a give a categorical assurance that it will not.
"What I can do is work to understand what went so badly wrong last weekend and try to make sure that it never does happen again. Sometimes things are outside of what I can control, so I cannot give a categorical assurance that something like this will not happen again. But I will do my best to make sure it does not."
Ray Muscat, deputy business unit manager of Colas, the council's highways contractor, 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."