As part of regular meetings that I have with Highways England, I regularly impress upon them the importance of working with local communities, providing early warning and doing everything within their power to ensure the effects of construction are properly mitigated.
The continued use of the A27 as a diversion route during this phase of works is causing major issues for local residents, particularly those people living close by to the A27 in West End. I am aware of these issues and am putting pressure on both Highways England (HE) and Hampshire County Council (HCC) to do more.
My initial suggestion was to consider other diversion routes because it cannot be fair that the fallout from the M27 works disproportionately affects one community. Like many of the residents who have also contacted HE/HCC about these, I was informed this is the standard diversion route and that there isn’t a suitable alternative. My response to this was if no other route is suitable, then much more needs to be done to address the concerns around noise and speed that residents are experiencing.
As a result of the concerns I have been highlighting, Hampshire County Council and Highways England met on Monday to look at both short-term and long-term solutions to this problem. The following outcomes have been agreed:
Improving/amending the A27 Diversion Route
- The A27 diversion route will be reviewed and other potential alternatives will be explored. Even if the A27 remains as the main diversion route, I would like other routes to be available so that the burden does not fall entirely on the people of West End living near to the A27.
- The current diversion route will also be checked to see if there are any road defects which may exacerbate the noise. This could include loose manholes covers when a large vehicle passes over it.
- Temporary overnight speed restrictions could be introduced on local roads. This may help reduce the noise because if vehicles are travelling more slowly, they will also be quieter.
- Deployment of portable speed indicator devices at critical points. These are the small square monitors that reveal a car speed. This will also provide data on the extent of the speeding problem.
- Deployment of large portable VMS (Variable Message Signs) asking drivers to drive considerately through residential areas. These will be placed at suitable locations so that the lights themselves from signage do not disturb residents.
- Providing a written update to residents explaining what action is being taken and where they can report concerns to.
- Engaging with the local road safety partnership to ask them if they can help campaign and provide communication support to encourage road users to drive respectfully.
Hampshire County Council and Highways England are currently working on these proposals which are a mix of short-term and long-term improvements. I am hopeful that some of the short-term measures can be introduced right away while the long term ideas are implemented as quickly as possible. I will continue to update residents on this work as soon as I have more information.