No traffic chaos as drivers stay away from Southampton roads

Empty roads in Southampton yesterday

Empty roads in Southampton yesterday

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Political reporter

It was a day that thousands of Southampton’s motorists and businesses had been dreading.

Three times in recent months the city’s roads have literally ground to a halt - hit by the perfect storm of thousands of cruise passengers embarking and disembarking from ships in the docks and road works near the city’s Town Quay.

Responding to severe criticism road bosses took tough action and among a raft of measures they urged motorists to stay away from the city.

The plan worked.

There was no repeat of the gridlocked that had plagued the city before and some routes normally busy on a Thursday morning seemed more like an early Sunday.

While it was an obvious relief to drivers the scheme did come at a price for some city centre businesses and opposition councillors questioned why it took four times to get it right and some restaurants have reported a loss in trade.

Labour council chiefs and highway chiefs had set out a series of measures to avert a fourth day of misery after some drivers were forced to queue for more than three hours, and some even forced to urinate on the street during the last incident in January.

Daily Echo:

As well as widening the junction at the entrance to Dock Gate 4 and suspending works at Town Quay eastbound, council bosses also urged motorists to stay away from the area during the peak time of 11am to 2pm.

Big “avoid if possible” signs also went up along the main routes into the city earlier this week.

But despite her relief, Labour council transport boss Jacqui Rayment said: “We don’t want to be complacent.

“We have spent a huge amount of time and energy into making sure today went well.

“All of the measures, like opening up the extra lane in Queens’ Terrace, making sure the lights were changed manually and having more people at the gates, have played a role in making sure it went as well as we had hoped.”

But her opposite number, Conservative transport spokesman Dan Fitzhenry, said: “Why has it taken them this long and four attempts to get it right?“I think the reason it went well was the fact that they used what was basically a scare tactic and told people to avoid the city centre, and motorists stayed away.”

And businesses near the area told the Daily Echo they had seen less trade than expected yesterday.

Matt Wilson, manager at the White Star Tavern in nearby Oxford Street said: “We definitely didn’t see a positive impact.

“It was quieter than we would usually expect for a Thursday lunchtime.”

And Simone Cica, at nearby restaurant Scoozi, said: “It was a lovely day but we definitely didn’t have as many customers as we expected.”

Stewart Dunn, chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We support the precautions that people took to keep traffic away from the area whist those road improvements are taking place.

“They were trying to prevent the snarl-up we saw a few weeks back, but it goes without saying that there would have been a loss in businesses to those restaurants at the lower end of town.”

Comments (12)

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5:24am Fri 14 Mar 14

mickey01 says...

rayment you say you spent a huge amount of time and energy on this but what you havnt said is that you have also wasted alot of our money on hair brained schemes such as the new cycle route and how much has it cost the local trade by people staying away
rayment you say you spent a huge amount of time and energy on this but what you havnt said is that you have also wasted alot of our money on hair brained schemes such as the new cycle route and how much has it cost the local trade by people staying away mickey01
  • Score: -1

5:50am Fri 14 Mar 14

mickey01 says...

liverpool must be laughing at us
liverpool must be laughing at us mickey01
  • Score: 7

6:22am Fri 14 Mar 14

bigfella777 says...

I always thought it was when there was 4 boats in that caused the chaos not just 2.
I always thought it was when there was 4 boats in that caused the chaos not just 2. bigfella777
  • Score: 2

6:36am Fri 14 Mar 14

saint61 says...

bigfella777 wrote:
I always thought it was when there was 4 boats in that caused the chaos not just 2.
I agree 2 ships have never caused a problem. When we have 4 in it may do? Some of the road works have reopened, such as central bridge. We should be able to cope fine now. I was working in the area yesterday and it looked like business as normal to me.
The council had to plan and erred on the side of caution. The DE was scaremongering and once again does not support it's own city.
As do LIverpool, if you've been to the port you'll know that the traffic around the area can be worse than here with only 1 cruise ship in.
What this council needs to work on is the surrounding areas that have fallen into a bad state, let's get a sea front to be proud of not a run down old docks that hasn't been spruced up since the TItanic left.
[quote][p][bold]bigfella777[/bold] wrote: I always thought it was when there was 4 boats in that caused the chaos not just 2.[/p][/quote]I agree 2 ships have never caused a problem. When we have 4 in it may do? Some of the road works have reopened, such as central bridge. We should be able to cope fine now. I was working in the area yesterday and it looked like business as normal to me. The council had to plan and erred on the side of caution. The DE was scaremongering and once again does not support it's own city. As do LIverpool, if you've been to the port you'll know that the traffic around the area can be worse than here with only 1 cruise ship in. What this council needs to work on is the surrounding areas that have fallen into a bad state, let's get a sea front to be proud of not a run down old docks that hasn't been spruced up since the TItanic left. saint61
  • Score: 15

7:59am Fri 14 Mar 14

in search of the truth says...

mickey01 wrote:
liverpool must be laughing at us
I won't laugh at you, I just sympathize with what you and others in Southampton have had to put up with, from incompetent Councillors of all political persuasions it really is a joke !!
[quote][p][bold]mickey01[/bold] wrote: liverpool must be laughing at us[/p][/quote]I won't laugh at you, I just sympathize with what you and others in Southampton have had to put up with, from incompetent Councillors of all political persuasions it really is a joke !! in search of the truth
  • Score: 8

9:41am Fri 14 Mar 14

downfader says...

Once again it wasn't "stay away" it was "be sensible". Her transport statement is still on her blog, the council website, twitter and facebook if anyone cares to actually look.

That includes Fitzhenry and the Echo.

"Be sensible" is also a mantra we should all be living by given how small Southampton is.
Once again it wasn't "stay away" it was "be sensible". Her transport statement is still on her blog, the council website, twitter and facebook if anyone cares to actually look. That includes Fitzhenry and the Echo. "Be sensible" is also a mantra we should all be living by given how small Southampton is. downfader
  • Score: -1

9:53am Fri 14 Mar 14

phil maccavity says...

in search of the truth wrote:
mickey01 wrote:
liverpool must be laughing at us
I won't laugh at you, I just sympathize with what you and others in Southampton have had to put up with, from incompetent Councillors of all political persuasions it really is a joke !!
Perhaps we can tease Derek Hatton and his crowd out of retirement to provide a lesson on how to run a Council
[quote][p][bold]in search of the truth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mickey01[/bold] wrote: liverpool must be laughing at us[/p][/quote]I won't laugh at you, I just sympathize with what you and others in Southampton have had to put up with, from incompetent Councillors of all political persuasions it really is a joke !![/p][/quote]Perhaps we can tease Derek Hatton and his crowd out of retirement to provide a lesson on how to run a Council phil maccavity
  • Score: 2

10:14am Fri 14 Mar 14

Lone Ranger. says...

Well done the Echo ...... you actually went out of your way to find a sad Tory councillor who still wanted to have a moan .......
Well done the Echo ...... you actually went out of your way to find a sad Tory councillor who still wanted to have a moan ....... Lone Ranger.
  • Score: 2

10:31am Fri 14 Mar 14

cliffwalker says...

Is it possible that the lower food hygiene rating awarded to some establishments compared with others in the same, Oxford Street, area may affect their success when undiscerning customers are scarcer? The DE has not reported complaints from any of the top rated restaurants. Did they also lose business?
Is it possible that the lower food hygiene rating awarded to some establishments compared with others in the same, Oxford Street, area may affect their success when undiscerning customers are scarcer? The DE has not reported complaints from any of the top rated restaurants. Did they also lose business? cliffwalker
  • Score: 4

2:52pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Bobs Your Uncle ? says...

cliffwalker wrote:
Is it possible that the lower food hygiene rating awarded to some establishments compared with others in the same, Oxford Street, area may affect their success when undiscerning customers are scarcer? The DE has not reported complaints from any of the top rated restaurants. Did they also lose business?
overated ,overpriced area set up to fleece cruise passengers, the word has spread.
[quote][p][bold]cliffwalker[/bold] wrote: Is it possible that the lower food hygiene rating awarded to some establishments compared with others in the same, Oxford Street, area may affect their success when undiscerning customers are scarcer? The DE has not reported complaints from any of the top rated restaurants. Did they also lose business?[/p][/quote]overated ,overpriced area set up to fleece cruise passengers, the word has spread. Bobs Your Uncle ?
  • Score: -1

4:30pm Fri 14 Mar 14

downfader says...

Bobs Your Uncle ? wrote:
cliffwalker wrote:
Is it possible that the lower food hygiene rating awarded to some establishments compared with others in the same, Oxford Street, area may affect their success when undiscerning customers are scarcer? The DE has not reported complaints from any of the top rated restaurants. Did they also lose business?
overated ,overpriced area set up to fleece cruise passengers, the word has spread.
Do you mean to tell me you object to going for a Brazilian and would refuse some spicy sausage offered by a Portuguese waiter?
[quote][p][bold]Bobs Your Uncle ?[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cliffwalker[/bold] wrote: Is it possible that the lower food hygiene rating awarded to some establishments compared with others in the same, Oxford Street, area may affect their success when undiscerning customers are scarcer? The DE has not reported complaints from any of the top rated restaurants. Did they also lose business?[/p][/quote]overated ,overpriced area set up to fleece cruise passengers, the word has spread.[/p][/quote]Do you mean to tell me you object to going for a Brazilian and would refuse some spicy sausage offered by a Portuguese waiter? downfader
  • Score: 0

11:15pm Fri 14 Mar 14

dolomiteman says...

bigfella777 wrote:
I always thought it was when there was 4 boats in that caused the chaos not just 2.
And also not on a Saturday when there is a football match on.
[quote][p][bold]bigfella777[/bold] wrote: I always thought it was when there was 4 boats in that caused the chaos not just 2.[/p][/quote]And also not on a Saturday when there is a football match on. dolomiteman
  • Score: 0

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