Hope for Portishead commuters

Hope for Portishead commuters

PORTISHEAD motorists are pinning their hopes on improvement works at the Gordano Services roundabout, to reduce commuter misery.

Phase one of the works, which is being carried out jointly between the Highways Agency and North Somerset Council, is already underway.

Contractors are carrying out the work at night to minimise disruption to motorists and plans include upgrading the existing traffic lights and replacing crash barriers and highway drainage repairs. The carriageway on the gyratory section of the roundabout will also be strengthened and resurfaced.

The upgrading of the traffic lights will see the computer-controlled Mova system introduced. The signals will operate by sensing approaching vehicles or queuing traffic and will programme light changes accordingly, to most efficiently clear traffic flows.

Drivers who spend hours queuing to get in and out of the town during daily rush hours say they are counting on the new system to reduce congestion on the roundabout and its approach roads.

Chairman of Portishead Town Council Reyna Knight said: “We sincerely hope that in the long term, the improvements currently under way at the junction 19 roundabout, including the new traffic light system, will significantly reduce the long queues which form on the Portbury Hundred and on the Bristol side of the A369 at peak times.”

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Developer, Persimmon Homes, has already completed widening works to the A369 Martcombe Road approach to the roundabout and also to the exit from J19 along A369 Portbury Hundred. This work forms part of the developer’s obligations under the section 106 planning agreement.

Nick Yates, a spokesman for North Somerset Council said: “The work will be split in to three phases. These essential works will bring the existing roundabout up to current standards.”

Phase two, due to start in February 2011 involves additional lanes on the motorway slip roads to benefit both the Portbury Hundred and Martcombe Road approaches.

The final stage of the scheme will include the widening of both A369 approaches to the roundabout and the installation of new traffic lights on each.

Adding a bus lane to Martcombe Road is proposed, along with the installation of traffic signals at the junction of the A369 with St George’s Hill and Portbury High Street.

Changes will also be made to the junction of Portbury High Street, stopping drivers turning right on to the A369.