Starting overnight on Monday (October 28), drivers coming into Portsmouth on the M275 will begin to see a new 40mph speed limit introduced southbound as part of wider plans to help manage congestion at the port in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on October 31.
The 40mph speed limit and signage on the M275 will be introduced over three nights. Northbound traffic leaving the city on the M275 will be unaffected.
If a deal is reached or a further extension agreed with the EU, then the changes will be reversed.
The Hampshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF) has been preparing for a reasonable worst case scenario in the event of a no deal, with a particular focus on any potential traffic congestion at Portsmouth International Port arising from a change to customs requirements.
With the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a deal next week, and the latest national planning assumptions suggesting that up to 70 per cent of HGVs would not be ‘border ready’ on day one of a no deal, the contingency arrangements are now being implemented.
Operation Transmission is a multi-agency plan developed to mitigate the potential risk of traffic disruption with the creation of checkpoints on the approach to Portsmouth International Port to prevent the arrival of non-border ready vehicles.
Signage will direct HGVs to the most appropriate checkpoint for them according to their direction of approach to Portsmouth, with the main checkpoint and holding facility being at the A31 between Winchester and Alresford. A contraflow will be in operation to keep the A31 open in both directions.
All EU bound hauliers travelling from the M3, A34, M25 and A3M will be directed to the A31 site to allow them to get border ready. There is a second checkpoint at Tipner, however this facility does not have any capacity for holding HGVs if not border ready and non-border ready vehicles arriving there will be sent away.
Hauliers are therefore being advised to attend the A31 checkpoint in the first instance.
A 3km section of the A303, on the link road from junction 8 of the M3, has been identified as an extra contingency for holding HGVs if capacity at the A31 site is reached.
Chair of the LRF Strategic Coordinating Group, Neil Odin, Chief Fire Officer for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our role within the LRF is to plan for the reasonable worst case scenario set out in the Government’s contingency planning assumptions.
“For many months now, we have been working extremely hard to identify what that is and look at the ways we can mitigate and manage the risks that are likely to arise.
“Portsmouth International Port’s close proximity to the motorway means there is only capacity for 13 lorries before reaching the main roundabout. Without any contingencies in place to prevent queueing, as our reasonable worst case suggests, this will impact on the road network and beyond.
“Our focus is to keep the port operating, keep the freight going in and out of the UK and enable the population of Portsmouth and South Hampshire to continue to go about their daily lives.”
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