Latest on proposals for traffic lights at Exceat Bridge

Exceat Bridge on the A259 across the River Cuckmere
Exceat Bridge on the A259 across the River Cuckmere

A petition calling for traffic lights at the Exceat Bridge between Seaford and Eastbourne is due to be debated next week.

Alan Simonds, who lives in Seaford, launched the campaign as a way of easing traffic congestion where the A259 crosses the River Cuckmere.

But East Sussex County Council looks set to reject the petition next week, and is instead looking at the possibility of funding for a new bridge to the north of the existing Exceat Bridge.

Earlier this year Mr Simonds said: “Anyone who travels to or from Eastbourne and crosses the bridge at Exceat will have experienced the traffic hold-ups and the associated frustration because of the one way nature of the bridge.

“If traffic light were installed, it would help to alleviate the problems. In the past when work has been carried out on the bridge and temporary traffic lights were installed, the traffic flow improved considerably.

“Traffic lights would be a cost effective solution compared to widening the existing bridge or building a second bridge.

More than 1,000 people have signed the petition and it is due to be discussed by the lead member for transport and environment at a meeting on Monday (July 18).

But officers have advised that traffic signals will not be progressed as they would ‘not improve traffic conditions’, but the county council is exploring options to deliver an ‘offline two-way bridge’.

Although temporary traffic lights have been introduced for maintenance works and will be used on the Friday and Saturday for Eastbourne’s Airborne Airshow, officers have said that ‘there are various difficulties which make their introduction on a permanent basis impracticable’.

Officers argue that traffic lights would cause more queueing traffic on the eastbound approach from Seaford, while they would also have to signalise access from the Cuckmere Inn car park.

The cost of a new bridge to the north of the existing one, to allow for two-way traffic flows on the A259, is estimated at £2m.

The county council currently has £500,000 in it capital programme to maintain the bridge, and is exploring potential funding sources for a more comprehensive solution.

The report due to be discussed on Monday, reads: “From our analysis, the majority of traffic using this section of the A259 has local origins and destinations.

“Whilst the A259 remains important, both as a tourist route and to carry local traffic, our policy has been not to encourage any more strategic traffic onto that route which should, as far as possible, be channelled onto the A27.

“Any scheme that might encourage strategic traffic to divert from the A27 could have a potential detrimental impact on the towns and villages along the A259.

“Having said that, any concerns in relation to the transfer of strategic traffic onto the A259 corridor would be eased if significant improvements were made to the A27.”

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