Island Roads has revealed that it has been working with Southern Water and Red Funnel in order to try to alleviate the gridlock faced by motorists in East Cowes today (Friday).
Residents and ferry passengers have faced lengthy delays travelling through the town over the past few days, with the bedlam reaching a new peak today following a burst water main on the existing diversion route and cancellations on Red Funnel’s vehicle ferry service combining to create the perfect traffic storm.
Cars, lorries and buses have all been made to follow a new diversion after emergency work was commenced by Southern Water to fix a burst main on Clarence Road – which had been being used as one of the main stretches of the diversion during the ongoing York Avenue upgrade program.
Island Roads was contacted by Island Echo earlier today after businesses were forced to close and buses serving East Cowes were suspended due to the nightmare traffic situation.
An Island Roads spokesperson says:
“We have been working with Red Funnel and Southern Water to address issues that have been causing congestion and other traffic-related issues in East Cowes.
“It is clearly unfortunate that a burst water main in Clarence Road and then disruptions to ferry services have coincided with our work to improve sections of York Avenue, the final phase (the resurfacing) of which began last night.”
Southern Water have now finished repairing the burst main, and are beginning the process of reinstating the road and fixing the damage caused by the leak.
The spokesperson continues:
“We can confirm that the burst water main in Clarence Road, has been fixed by Southern Water who are currently re-instating the excavation and repairing minor damage to the carriageway caused by the leak.
“We are told that work will be finished by mid to late afternoon at which time the previous traffic diversion will again come into force.”
Further issues have been caused today after Red Funnel announced 12-hour delays for passengers using its East Cowes to Southampton route following a mechanical failure and the subsequent withdrawal of the Red Eagle from service.
The resulting traffic buildup as those heading to their allotted crossing – only to find it cancelled, and then needing to either wait or leave the terminal to come back later via the diversion route – only added to the congestion.
The Island Roads spokesperson says that communication between the contractor and Red Funnel has been taking place:
“We have also been in regular contact with Red Funnel. They are working hard to help marshal ferry traffic, advise customers of rescheduled sailings and to resolve the issues that have seen a ship temporarily removed from service.”
In the final part of the update, Island Roads has revealed that the York Avenue improvement scheme has now progressed on to the resurfacing phase, with work planned to continue tonight. However, the contractor says that it is at the mercy of the weather – which is expected to be poor.
The spokesperson comments:
“As regards the York Avenue improvement work, we have completed the reconstruction phase and last night, despite the poor weather, began the resurfacing phase. We will continue this work tonight and will make every effort to complete the scheme on schedule.
“However the physical laying of the new surface does require favourable conditions so we are, in this respect, at the mercy of the weather. We will of course keep residents informed of progress.
“We do appreciate this work has caused local disruption, particularly so due to the unforeseeable events of the past 24 hours. We would, again, like to apologise for any inconvenience and are sincerely grateful to the local community for its support and understanding. We would also like to thank Red Funnel and Southern Water for their co-operation.”
UPDATE @ 16:05 – Red Funnel has announced that its Red Eagle will be brought back into service. It is hoped that this move will help ease traffic queues in East Cowes. It’s also understood that Clarence Road will reopen shortly following the repair of a burst water main.