So Chichester Deserves Better has decided that Option 2 is the correct solution to improve the traffic flow around Chichester.
What a surprise!
Push the problem as far south as you can and try to avoid any possible discussion of any Northern route.
Below, in italics is their rationale for their recommendation of Option 2. Best4Chichester’s comments on their points are beneath.
WHY OPTION 2?
‘It is the only option that provides significant journey time improvements for ALL the main local routes around the area and for through traffic.’
The statement that Option 2 provides ‘significant’ improvements in journey times for ALL local traffic is not in the Highways England report. Try telling someone who wishes to travel from Oving to Chichester that the closure of their lights on the A27 will make their journey quicker; or the residents of the Manhood that their already over-congested B roads will not be cloggedby the diverted traffic. Remember, Highways England’s aims include improving ‘journey time reliability on the strategic road network.’ Improving life for local traffic is not one of their aims, in fact the word ‘local’ is not mentioned in any of their aims.
‘It provides significant journey time improvements for traffic coming out of the Manhood peninsula (20% improvement) Whereas options 1 and 3A provide nearly no improvement at all (1-3% improvement) and options 1A and 3 actually make local journey times worse (1-10% increase) click here for Highways England forecasts for the five options’
Highways England’s repeated use of improved journey times is completely beside the point: most of us are not looking to shave 2 or 3 minutes off our local trips. Apart from anything else we know we could be delayed by level crossings! What we want is the confidence to know that if we start a local journey that involves the existing A27, we are not going to be faced with solid and stationary traffic, as is the case for much of the time, and has been particularly this summer. None of the Options including 2 will resolve this problem in the long term, and the chaos during the 41 months construction period is unimaginable.
‘It is the only option that properly separates both through (west to east) and local (sorth to south) traffic at Stockbridge and Whyke and so the only option that makes the road a true bypass.’
So CDB finally come the realisation that what is needed is a proper bypass – one that separates local from through traffic. In fact Option 2 only does this partially; their will still be local and through traffic on the existing A27, despite the diversion of some local traffic.
‘It provides a much needed link road, suitable to carry all traffic from the Peninsula to provide unrestricted access to the A27. In this respect it significantly improves the access for the residents, businesses and tourists south of the A27. All other options would involve restricted right turn access on to the A27 at Whyke and Stockbridge.’
Ahh! The link road: The irony and hypocrisy of the campaign that was so vociferous in resisting a northern bypass through virgin fields now advocating exactly the same to the south of the City will not be lost on many. This link road does go some way to removing some local traffic from the main strategic route along the A27, but at the cost of making it use the already severely congested minor B roads of the Manhood peninsula, in particular the B2145 and the B2166. There will be inevitable increased delays from those driving both from the Wittering, Bird ham, Selsey, Pagham and Bognor. For most of the lengths of these minor roads which will become so much busier, there is no footpath, no cycleway, and in parts two lorries cannot pass in opposite directions without them stopping. This is HE’s way of providing a bypass that is not a proper bypass at all by diverting some traffic and inflicting damage of the people of the Manhood peninsula.
‘It has the best benefit to cost ratio (apart from Option 3 which increases local journey times so should be ruled out) and in that respect represents the best value for tax payers money’
Highways England’s own documents show that the cost benefit ration for both of the discarded northern by pass options equal or exceed that of option2, and the long term benefits of a proper bypass are much better. Also the Benefit to cost ratio for Option 2 does not include the possible future need to upgrade the link road in the south to dual carriageway, probably in 2023, only 12 years after the completion of option 2
‘It provides a net improvement on noise impact’
Greater noise reductions are available through a northern route. If CDB reads carefully the HE statement, it merely states that the reduction will be due to implementation of noise mitigation measures, such as screening and quiet surfacing. THEY COULD DO THAT NOW. Most of us are sceptical that raising traffic on the roads by 10 metres with eyesore flyovers is likely to be quieter than the existing arrangements.
‘It is the only option where it is not stated that it will cause a deterioration on the Stockbridge Air Quality Management area and so in this respect appears to represent the best air quality option.’
A northern bypass would render greater pollution benefits. Speaking to the HE representatives at the local consultations indicates that any improvement on air quality is likely to result from the fact that the traffic is moving more freely. They appear not to have modelled how much worse it is likely to be with the increased traffic flow if hold-ups occur
Whilst the duration of works for Option 2 is long (41 months) this is the same as option 1 which provides significantly less benefits and so has to be favoured out of the two longest construction time options.
The construction time of Option 2 will be a disaster for those who use the A27. Highways England are far too dismissive if the Mayhem that will result as a consequence of three and a half years or more of major works. Those of us who use the road regularly know that even a minor incident results almost immediately in long queues or gridlock, even out of peak time. Incidentally, the construction of a northern bypass is estimated at 24 months, and allows for the use of the existing A27 throughout.
‘The Stockbridge Link Road could either be constructed first to allow a route for traffic during the construction of the new junctions (this could not only reduce congestion during the works but also mean they can be carried out without the road being “live”) or phased for a later date which potentially could reduce build costs / time.’
Pure speculation with no grounding in the HE consultation documents.
We recognise there are possible negative impacts of any new road scheme and we would encourage Highways England to consider these and how they can be mitigated to minimise the negative impact.
Option 2 involves construction of a new road through open fields to the south of the A27 and with the largest number of houses will be lost to construction.
All the existing options but especially Option 2 are opposed by the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Board.
There is a visual impact due to raised structures which should be minimised through elegant design and better integration into the landscape.
The people of Chichester have not been made fully aware of exactly what the effect of the building of the enormous flyovers will have on the area, particularly views of the Cathedral.
There is potential for some visual impact on the AONB and conservation areas.
There will be an impact on wildlife habitats and this should be mitigated with suitable planting and other mitigation measures.
Chichester Deserves Better seems to have come reluctantly to the realisation that the only proper solution to our traffic problem is a bypass – so long as it does not go anywhere near them. Highways England have stated that NO OPTION in their survey is a perfectly proper and reasonable choice. We citizens of Chichester are quite within our rights to say that NONE of the ‘take it or leave it’ options will work in the short or long term.
They had also said that, if we do not like any Option we should state which solution we DO support.
There is only one answer to the long term traffic problems of our City: that we, as most places of our size on the Strategic Road Network, need a proper bypass that separates through and local traffic.
A NORTHERN BYPASS IS THE ONLY SENSIBLE CHOICE.