A27 Worthing roadworks expected to be completed by Christmas after year of temporary lights - but what was the holdup?

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Temporary traffic lights on the A27 in Worthing could finally be removed before Christmas.

Temporary traffic signals remain in place due to works at Grove Lodge/Lyons Farm retail park in Worthing.

These works, led by National Highways, started in November last year. The aim at that time was to have it finished by August this year, according to South East route manager Peter Phillips.

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However, workmen have been delayed by four months – for issues unrelated to the repeat failure of the lights which caused ‘absolute carnage’ earlier this year.

Temporary traffic signals remain in place outside Lyons Farm retail park in Worthing. Photo: Eddie MitchellTemporary traffic signals remain in place outside Lyons Farm retail park in Worthing. Photo: Eddie Mitchell
Temporary traffic signals remain in place outside Lyons Farm retail park in Worthing. Photo: Eddie Mitchell

Mr Phillips said: “Once we started work, we encountered a lot of problems with the other services in there – the medium pressure gas main, telecoms and electric cables that meant the dig was really slow going through there.

"It’s a very difficult site to work on anyway. We’ve got to keep a lot of traffic going through it and there are residential properties nearby.”

Mr Phillips said it ‘became very difficult getting some of that work done’ – even overnight.

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"At one stage recently, we found a cable right where we wanted to put one of our junctions and poles but it wasn’t charted,” he said. “We have got to wait for UK Power Networks to come and disconnect that before we finish off that work.

"We started to overrun and had a clash with works on a diversion route that West Sussex were doing. That meant we couldn’t get back out and do the closures.”

Despite it continuing to be a ‘very awkward’ site to work on, the project team is anticipating to have the road ‘back up and running before Christmas’.

"We try to plan roadworks so they’re not too close together but some other major works are going on in the area,” Mr Phillips said.

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"We very much understand the frustrations of our customers. My role as route manager is a customer champion so I look at what we are doing from the customer side, trying to work as best as we can.

"I go through the junction a lot. I see it on a fairly regular basis but unfortunately we can only apologise.

"Quite a bit of it has been outside our control. We are trying to make the best we can of it and get it resolved so the junction will operate better than it ever has done before.”

The works have included a total refurbishment of the traffic signal control. This includes; new ducting and cabling; new vehicle detection loops; new signal heads and poles and pedestrian push buttons. This is in addition to new relocated signal controllers, which will work together in a ‘more coordinated way’, using the latest software to ‘improve the junction capacity’.

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Mr Phillips added: “There will also be improved right turns associated with the signal changes and additional controlled pedestrian crossing as well as new pedestrian guard railing and tactile paving, with replaced kerbing. The road and pavement will be resurfaced and include new road studs and white lining with lane markings.

“It's not been easy. It will be operating on a completely new system and should make it work a lot more efficiently.

"We've still got traffic flowing down there and dealing with lots of turning traffic which makes it an awkward junction to get working efficiently.”

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