THE three-month programme of roadworks on the A27 has met with a mixed reaction.
The work on the Chichester bypass began on Monday (November 26) and is expected to be finished by late February.
City-centre bosses agreed it was too early to predict the effects the work was having, but said the expectation of heavy traffic was likely to deter visitors from coming into Chichester.
“Where we struggle at the City Centre Partnership is that people respond to what people think will happen, and not what happens in practice.
“People will make the decision not to come because they think traffic will be bad and they may decide to go elsewhere,” said Andrew Finnamore, chairman of the City Centre Partnership.
As reported in last week’s Observer, the partnership launched a campaign to stall the programme of work for six weeks to prevent it being carried out over the Christmas period.
The partnership said it was particularly concerned about coaches bringing visitors into the city for the Christmas market becoming stuck in A27 traffic.
However city bosses said it was too soon to predict the effects the £1.5m scheme – between the Portfield roundabout and the Fishbourne roundabout – would have on the city.
“Until you actually see the extent of the works, it’s very difficult to predict how the precautions the Highways Agency are taking will affect the flow of traffic around the city,” added Mr Finnamore.
“As a city we must strive to do the best we can. We have that combination of Christmas attractions, great independent retailers and some truly outstanding heritage and leisure activities right in the heart of the city which is really unusual for a city of this size.”
In an online poll, which asked if the planned roadworks on the A27 would hit the city centre hard this Christmas, 62 per cent voted yes, while 38 per cent if users voted no.
“Some people will never be satisfied, too bad! Get the urgently needed drainage work done before the next flood event,” said one online user, commenting on the story.
Another user is keen for work to begin and posted: “The road WILL flood again (probably several times) over the next few weeks if these works do not start.”
A survey is available until the roadworks are completed at www.surveymonkey.com/s/A27Chichesterdrainage