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13 March 2014, 06:34
There's a warning of extra busy traffic in Southampton today with two cruise ships visiting the port.
Southampton City Council is warning drivers of possible congestion on city centre roads. Thousands of cruise passengers will be making their way to and from Dock Gate 4 through the ongoing highway improvement works at Platform Road.
The council says it will be busiest between 11am and 2pm around the southern part of the city coming in from the M271, and are advising that if journeys to this part of the city are not essential drivers may wish to avoid these times or come into the city using a different route.
A city council statement said:
'The reason for the road works is to improve access to the Eastern Docks. There have been long queues here whenever there have been large or multiple cruise ships in the Eastern Docks. Once completed the scheme will significantly reduce journey times and congestion. The scheme will also support the continued growth of the cruise and port business which will provide new job opportunities for nearly 500 people. Failure to deliver these improvements could mean the city loses these opportunities. Each cruise ship generates over £2million of trade for the local economy.
'We are doing everything possible to reduce the impact on the road network although some delays should be expected. The measures we are taking include:
'We will be issuing improved, timely information warning of busy days including putting variable message signs on the approaches to Platform Road, including along West Quay Road and The Avenue, giving advance warning to motorists and suggesting alternative routes. Drivers are advised to plan their journeys and avoid that part of the city if at all possible.
'The section of the works at Town Quay eastbound will be suspended and the road opened for the day to create additional capacity. It will close again on Thursday night to allow resurfacing to be completed the following week.
'The gyratory around Queens Park now has a designated right hand lane for Dock Gate 4 traffic only and the left hand lane is reserved for all other traffic. Yellow box road markings will be installed at the entrance to the gyratory to deter traffic from blocking entry and the yellow box hatching at the Canute Road junction has been refreshed and extended.
'The junction at the entrance to Dock Gate 4 has been widened to improve traffic flow. Lights will remain at the junction but will be solely to allow pedestrians to cross safely.
'The council has worked closely with Associated British Ports (ABP) and the cruise operators to ensure that passengers are aware of the best route to get them to Dock Gate 4, with the aim of spreading the load across the network.
'Anticipated peak times for cruise traffic are between 8.15am and 10am for disembarkation and 11.30am to 2pm for embarkation. ABP will also deploy additional staff at security check points to allow faster access to the docks.'
Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Southampton City Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Transport, said:
“We are spending over £20m on improving roads in this area - the highest level of investment in the city's roads for over a decade.
"This will lead to significant benefits for residents, businesses and visitors to the city but making such changes is going to cause some disruption.
"We regret that some of our resident, visitors and businesses may be inconvenienced but we are doing everything in our power to alleviate the worst of the congestion and to ensure people have access to the latest travel information.”