This week has been a difficult one, both for the local people of Alton and us, as contractor for the Butts Bridge Highways Improvements.
The diversion arrangements that have been put in place were arrived at after lengthy consultation and considerable compromise between Knights Brown, Hampshire County Council, East Hampshire District Council, Alton Town Council and various associations, committees and interested parties active in Alton.
We believe these arrangements are still the best option for the greatest number of people and if everybody abided by them, they would work satisfactorily.
Regrettably, some drivers have decided that these arrangements shouldn’t apply to them and are putting themselves, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk by:
Ignoring ‘no entry’ signs and driving against the flow of traffic in one-way sections.
Physically moving road barriers to drive around the road closure, bump over pavements and drive across Butts Green.
Ignoring advisory notices indicating routes unsuitable for diverted traffic.
Driving at excessive speed on the diversion route and other roads signed unsuitable for diverted traffic.
Not only are these drivers risking their own and others’ safety, they are breaking the law.
The diversion route and the associated one-way restrictions and HGV prohibitions are legalised by a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order which sets out the measures required to support the temporary closure of part of Whitedown Lane.
In response to these issues we have:
Installed additional advisory signage, both in the town and on the A31/A32, to provide more information and direction to road users, with further new signs being installed today (1.2.19).
Situated a marshal at the entry to Northfield Lane off the Chawton Park roundabout (during peak periods), and are also now installing additional water-filled road safety barriers at the junction of Northfield Lane and Chawton Park Road, and at the top end of Ackender Road, in an attempt to further mitigate the possibility of vehicles bypassing the ‘road ahead closed’ and ‘no entry’ signs, and attempting to travel against the one-way flow of southbound traffic on Chawton Park Road and northbound traffic on Ackender Road.
Our NRSWA supervisor has been carrying out twice daily checks (as a minimum) particularly around the morning and evening rush hours to inspect, repair and reinstate signage, bollards, cones, and lighting, that have been damaged, moved or otherwise interfered with.
Introduced 24-hour response on standby to respond to urgent situations.
Enhanced out of town signage to re-route ‘through traffic’ HGVs away from Alton.
Encouraged people who witness illegal behaviour to report it directly to the police.
Requested further support and assistance from the Hampshire Constabulary.
We have now called a meeting with representatives from Hampshire County Council, East Hampshire District Council, Alton Town Council and Hampshire Police Traffic Management on Monday 4 February, to discuss what further steps can be taken to ensure that the diversion route operates safely and with maximum efficiency.
In the meantime, we would ask all road users to respect the law, adhere to the signed diversion route, reduce their speed, and be courteous to each other, most particularly, children and other pedestrians.
We will provide a further update next week.