Council calls for action on traffic congestion

Winchester City Council is seeking a meeting with the County Council and police on how traffic congestion can be eased in the city when a major incident occurs on one of the nearby trunk roads.

Cllr Barry Lipscomb, the City Council's Cabinet portfolio holder for planning and transport, said the matter was brought to a head last Friday when the City was gridlocked after accidents on the M3.

"Our first thoughts are obviously for those killed or injured in such accidents and for the emergency services staff dealing with them.

"But we need to ask ourselves urgently, with our limited responsibilities for traffic management, what we can do with our partners in Hampshire County Council and the Police.

"We must mitigate the effects of what is unfortunately a quite regular occurrence due to the nature of trunk roads in our area and the road system in the centre of Winchester.  

"We owe it to all road users in Winchester and to our local employers whose businesses suffer quite badly from congestion, to do what we can to keep the traffic moving as freely as possible when these incidents happen," he added.

Cllr Lipscomb has asked City Council officers to meet with senior partners in HCC Highways, HCC Emergency Planning and the Police as to what options are open to the local authorities and emergency services to manage such situations in the future.

He said everyone should make full use of the technology available and areas to be considered should include sequencing of traffic lights at key junctions to speed up flow, police at major congestion hot-spots to direct traffic and a series of recommended routes to keep traffic moving, depending on the location of the problem. 

He added that representatives of the business community and public transport operators should also be included in any further discussions.