'Enough is enough': Anger over plans to shut major Sussex road for second time
and live on Freeview channel 276
People are condemning the situation as ‘an absolute joke’ and declaring ‘enough is enough.’
The A29 at Church Hill in Pulborough was closed in December following a landslide which led to chaos in the village with traffic snarl-ups, safety fears and a loss of trade for local businesses.
It reopened to single-lane traffic, controlled manually by traffic lights, in April. But now West Sussex County Council plans to change the traffic light system and says it will have to shut the A29 again for two days on July 3 and 4.
The council says it has closely monitored the traffic signals since their introduction. It said in a statement: “We believe it has operated well and that there has been very little congestion. Although it remains less than ideal we hope the arrangement has helped ease the significant impact that the road closure brought for the residents, businesses and key services for a number of months.”
The council says it has been negotiating with landowners at the site of the landslide over repairs and says it had hoped to “secure permission to access private land and undertake the essential works on the two embankments under private ownership.
"The works, if successful, would see the reopening of Church Hill in both directions and under no temporary traffic control. Unfortunately we have not yet been successful in obtaining landowner permission to undertake the works and at this stage we have little confidence that this position will change.
"The county council will therefore continue to pursue the more formal legal routes to secure a solution. Unfortunately, at this stage we are unable to provide any time scales for when this will be resolved.
“In the meantime, and due to the costs being incurred by the county council with the current temporary signals, we will be altering the existing arrangement and replacing it with a more sophisticated temporary traffic signal arrangement.
"The new temporary system will be vehicle activated and will not require manual control by operatives. Due to the costs being incurred with the current arrangement, and the uncertainty on the time scales for a resolution of the embankments work, this change will result in a significant cost reduction and saving for the taxpayer.
“Unfortunately to implement the new traffic signal arrangement we will need to close Church Hill for two days, on July 3 and 4, and will revert to the previous diversion route.
"The closure will commence at 9:30am on 3 July to allow the morning’s peak traffic to flow. Whilst we acknowledge that any closure will result in some local congestion and issues, this closure is necessary for the safety of the contractors delivering the works.”
Residents have taken to social media to vent their anger at delays to the road repairs. “Why are we still waiting?” queried one. Another said: “Roll on the summer traffic madness.”
And another: “Expensive people to be replaced with expensive lights system … actual problem left untouched.”