'Logjam' fears as A29 gets set to reopen after four-month Pulborough closure
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The road has been shut for nearly four months after a landslide left debris strewn across the carriageway. The closure has led to road mayhem, safety fears and a loss of trade for local businesses.
But now residents fear there will be more chaos and a traffic logjam in both directions of the A29 when traffic lights are installed and the road is partially reopened this week.
Elizabeth Hunt of Pulborough Traders’ Association said that West Sussex County Council had not communicated its plans for the reopening other than via a press release.
“This last minute announcement by West Sussex County Council to operate traffic lights as access to the A29 when it partially reopens flies in the face of previous assurances given by our MP Andrew Griffith just days ago and fails to take into account the needs and fears of local businesses and residents.
"It will create a logjam east and west as well as north and south further exasperating our beleaguered village and damaging the economy.
"There’s been no communication other than a press release so we have no idea whether there will be weight or height restrictions on the road or what they will do if massive traffic jams emerge either way.
"They’ve had nearly four months to get this right and instead have failed us once more.”
The county council said in a statement on Friday: “Work is currently underway to progress the single lane re-opening of the A29 at Pulborough as a temporary route. Last week the county council’s highway contractors cleared vegetation, including cutting back branches and limbs of trees which were overhanging the highway.
"This was necessary to facilitate the installation of the concrete blocks required to partially re-open the road.
“This week, contractors have installed the concrete blocks on both sides of the highway along the affected area of Church Hill. There will be approximately 50 metres of interlinking blocks which will form a robust, protected single lane carriageway down the centre of the road, with the last of these being installed today (Friday 14 April).
“On Monday, WSCC contractors will install 100mm of surfacing to provide additional support to the positioning of the blocks, which will allow the road to be reopened on Tuesday 18 April by 11am, once the morning’s peak traffic has subsided.
“All vehicular traffic will be permitted to travel in both directions along Church Hill, with traffic signals controlling the direction of the flow. The traffic signals will be manned throughout the day, particularly at peak hours, to minimise queuing traffic. We will monitor the situation on a daily basis and adjust the operational hours of the manual control accordingly.”
The statement added: “We are aware that the two-way option will result in traffic queuing at either end, however we feel that the additional manual control of the traffic signals at peak hours will minimise the disruption these queues may cause.
“There will be continued monitoring of the embankments to ensure that the road can remain open safely and the county council will continue to work towards a longer term solution for the location.”