Chichester traffic chaos — Is it about to get worse?

Motorists travelling in Chichester during rush hour have endured traffic chaos over the last few weeks and it could be about to get worse.

Much of the recent problems on the roads have been caused by the A27 Portfield scheme, which began in May, as part of planning permission for the new Shopwyke Lakes development. The scheme commenced on a number of roads, including the A27 Chichester bypass, A27 Westhampnett bypass, Portfield Way, Shopwhyke Road and Oving Road in May. The major scheme, which has seen the A27 narrowed, is scheduled to continue until autumn 2020.

Heavy traffic along Spitalield Lane. Photo: Kate Shemilt ks190518-1

Heavy traffic along Spitalield Lane. Photo: Kate Shemilt ks190518-1

Read our round-up of roadworks in the city here
As of next week, the railway line between Chichester and Havant is set to shut for nine days during the autumn half term for engineering works. From Monday, October 28 to Friday, November 1 buses will replace trains between Havant and Chichester. Buses will also replace trains between Barnham and Havant, when the line is closed on the following weekend dates: Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27, Saturday, November 2 and Sunday, November 3, Sunday, November 10, Sunday, November 17, Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1.

This will no doubt create further traffic problems for motorists.

Spitalfield Lane has also seen huge disruption, due to the temporary traffic lights set up whilst gas main work takes place, which is due to end on November 29. Commuters are currently facing delays of 20 minutes or more entering the city via Portfield roundabout due to these roadworks.

Bradley Barlow, a spokesman for gas distribution company SGN which authorised the works back in August, said: "This essential work involves the replacement of old metal gas mains with new plastic pipe to ensure we continue to provide a safe and reliable gas supply to the local area. It follows our recently completed upgrade work in College Lane, Chichester.

Heavy traffic along Spitalield Lane. Photo: Kate Shemilt ks190518-2

Heavy traffic along Spitalield Lane. Photo: Kate Shemilt ks190518-2

"In consultation with West Sussex County Council, to ensure everyone’s safety we installed temporary traffic lights around our work area on Tuesday 20 August for approximately 15 weeks. We’re manually operating the lights from 6.30am to 7pm to keep the traffic flowing.

"We understand people can get frustrated by roadworks. However, the new plastic pipe has a minimum lifespan of 80 years. This means that when our work is complete, Chichester residents will continue to enjoy the benefits of a safe and reliable gas supply for years to come."

'It's getting worse every week'

Observer readers have been having their say about the recent disruption on the roads.

Commenting on our Facebook page, Jo Beeby said: "There are four way traffic lights on the first roundabout from Westhampnett after Goodwood motor circuit. And from November 4, there is road works on Stane Street for 109 days.

"Traffic is worse in Chichester than when I lived in London."

Replying to this comment, Yvonne Norris wrote: "It is quite appalling. So much at the same time."

Dave Gray said the situation is 'getting worse every week'.

Jenny Pond pointed to the added impact of roadworks on Broyle Road. She said: "They are widening a cycle path, [which] will take three months [whilst] temporary lights are in place."

Robert Carver said he finds driving in Chichester 'stressful'.

He wrote: "I have lived in West Sussex all my life (Arundel) but travel to Chichester a lot, it goes without saying it's horrendous. When in Arundel/Chichester/ Rustington l always walk or cycle.

"The reality of the situation is we have too many people living in too small a land mass, they are building houses everywhere destroying the quality of life as we are so very overcrowded."

Sally Smith said traffic chaos is a 'normal state of affairs' in Chichester.

Adam Brown agreed. He said: "So has there ever been a time that the traffic wasn't bad? I've only lived in Chichester a while but it was definitely the first thing anyone has ever told me about the city — which is a shame as I love the city now but before moving all I knew was that the traffic was a nightmare."

Jonathan Fulford claimed the roadworks are not the issue.

He wrote: "Too many people and cars. Yet they insist on building more and more."

Addressing fellow motorists, he added: "If it is such a massive issue for you, you could alter your own behaviour so the actions of others affect you less. You may notice that moaning does not reduce the time you are sat in traffic."

What do you think? Let us know by commenting on our Facebook page.