Anyone unfortunate enough to travel around Chichester recently will have likely witnessed the tailbacks caused by replacing the Stockbridge footbridge.
Highways England stated the work would be completed within 12 weeks and here we are, 16 weeks later, and there is still no end in sight. What should have been a simple project has gone well past its finish date, caused big delays, several accidents and raised serious concerns over safety.
It is hard to imagine why anyone would want to even consider replacing the existing roundabouts with flyovers, yet it has appeared as an option. Highways England estimate the work would take almost four years; how long would it take in reality? Who knows. Where would the tens of thousands of vehicles that use the existing route every day be diverted to while the work takes place? There is no realistic answer.
The cost to local residents and businesses would be truly devastating, the city and surrounding area north and south would be totally gridlocked. Public transport and emergency services will be caught in the chaos and lives put at risk.
Local businesses will suffer the consequences of people avoiding the area like the plague. Would you visit a city surrounded in major roadwork projects and queues?
There would be huge impacts to local tourism, as people struggle to get on and off the peninsular, an area so vital to the local economy. Local growers who rely so much on being able to move their goods around at speed would be hit hard.
All for what? A solution that would require upgrading again not that long after it is built?
We have the option of building a true bypass to the north, one that actually separates local and through traffic. It could be constructed in half the time with minimal impact to existing traffic, set in a cutting and planted either side. I hope the decision makers can see past the recent shouting of campaign groups and make a decision based on the facts. A decision that will not cause us all to suffer badly for many years to come.
Stephen Holcroft, Stockbridge Gardens, Chichester