A31 BREXIT TRIAGE POINT TO CLOSE; DUAL CARRIAGEWAY IN USE BY THE END OF FEBRUARY


The County Highways team has informed Parishes of the cessation of Operation Transmission. The full text is below: 

Jackie says, ” This has cost us all such a lot of money: £3.8m for 1900 vehicles- Police costs and if you live along the A31, your extra costs are not included in this. Brett negotiations should have been concluded months before the end of 2020, not hours. As a result, exports have been severely down and we receive reports of lorries going back empty.

I’m glad that operation Transmission is being taken down, save for a basic checking unit, and want to thank officers who have had the thankless task of dealing with all this. The team has promised that the litter will be removed and the road potholes repaired, subject to weather conditions”

When we went live with Operation Transmission we wrote to you to share detail of the risk that we were planning to mitigate, caused by the unique situation of having such limited lorry capacity at the entrance to Portsmouth International Port (PIP). As you are aware, Operation Transmission is a multi-agency plan from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum (LRF) put in place to reduce the risk of severe traffic delays at Portsmouth International Port, and on surrounding roads, once the UK left the EU. A key factor was the projection we had from government in relation to expected compliance rates in terms of lorries having the right paperwork upon reaching the port gate. 

At that time, I also said that we would keep the plans under constant review and, when we could, we would step those plans down. We needed to give hauliers the time to learn the new process, track compliance so that we knew the real picture, and allow for traffic through PIP to grow back to somewhere near normal. These would enable us to make decisions with confidence based on the facts in front of us. We are now at a stage where that first decision can be made. 

This morning, the LRF has written to hauliers making clear our intent to downscale Operation Transmission. Signage on the M3 and other roads will no longer be visible from the 18 February and we will no longer be requiring lorries to go via our checking site on the A31. The A31 site will then be partially-decommissioned in the week commencing 22 February, with the barriers removed and traffic returning to using both sides of the A31. We will keep the other site at Tipner, Portsmouth, on standby to allow some continued mitigation. 

There are three key reasons why we are able to take these steps: 

  • Strong Compliance: Border-ready compliance rates by hauliers using Portsmouth International Port in terms of the required paperwork are now, and have been in recent weeks, consistently strong. Compliance now stands at around 90% each day compared with the reasonable worst-case scenario that up to 70% of lorries would not be border-ready. 
  • Volumes Through the Port: Activity at Portsmouth International Port has increased. As well as border-ready compliance rates, the number of lorries is a factor. We are not yet back to ‘normal’ levels but they are now far higher than at the start of January. More than 1,900 lorries have passed through our A31 site and more than 2,500 lorries through the Tipner site since the start of January. 
  • Testing: This is not something that we expected but COVID-19 testing for lorry drivers became a factor and is now established. The LRF is not responsible for this but it is crucial to the bigger picture. 

The factors above remain subject to change. There is still a requirement for us to be ready should volumes increase or border-ready compliance fall in a manner that creates risk in the coming weeks. We will therefore keep some of the infrastructure in place as a precaution at present.           

 However, from the morning of 23 February, the contraflow will be removed and the temporary speed restriction removed, except for at the dedicated left turn lane from the Alresford bypass and a short section west of the Ladycroft roundabout – this will be clearly signed. 

As an LRF we have a statutory responsibility to plan to the reasonable worst case scenario that we are presented with. In essence we put in place an insurance policy to ensure that the road network that we all so rely on kept flowing. We have achieved that and things are running smoothly. We also, however, are very aware of our responsibility to listen to local people and those who represent them, and hauliers. We would like to thank everyone for their support and engaging with us, when at times we know it has caused concern.  

It is about getting the balance right. That is why we are taking this proactive step now to downscale our efforts, taking into account the 12-week period the Government originally asked us to plan for. We also want to make sure that we leave things in a better condition than they were when we arrived in January. We will, therefore, be litter picking along the road on 19 February, and carrying out other minor works to ensure the road is left in a neat and tidy condition. 

Jackie says, ” This has cost us all such a lot of money: £3.8m for 1900 vehicles- Police costs and if you live along the A31, your extra costs are not included in this. Brett negotiations should have been concluded months before the end of 2020, not hours. As a result, exports have been severely down and we receive reports of lorries going back empty.

I’m glad that operation Transmission is being taken down, save for a basic checking unit, and want to thank officers who have had the thankless task of dealing with all this. The team has promised that the litter will be removed and the road potholes repaired, subject to weather conditions”


Share this post on social media: