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Bus service improvements plan revealed by Hampshire County Council for the Waterside

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TRAFFIC schemes to improve bus service reliability and journey times on the Waterside are being looked at by Hampshire County Council.

Three initiatives are planned for major roads in Totton and Marchwood, and the authority is now seeking views as it launches a four-week public consultation.

Proposals include a dedicated bus lane between Rushington Roundabout and Marchwood Bypass, modifications to the A326 to allow buses to get onto the bypass, a new bus stop in the vicinity of Hounsdown Business Park, and a bus only link between Junction Road and A326 Commercial Road in Totton.

There may be modifications in store for A326 to allow buses to get on to the bypass
There may be modifications in store for A326 to allow buses to get on to the bypass

The move would also see improvements to existing bus stops on Commercial Road and an upgrade to the crossing there.

Cllr Rob Humby, deputy leader of HCC and cabinet member for transport, said: “We want to improve bus facilities and networks to encourage people to choose to leave the car at home and catch the bus for work or leisure journeys.

"To this end, we’re keen to gather views on these proposals from as many people as possible, before we finalise any plans.

"We’ve intentionally developed a survey for each of the three schemes to avoid confusion about what is being proposed and ensure we accurately capture what people think about each scheme."

Funding for the schemes has come from the Department for Transport, which awarded £57m to HCC and Southmapton City Council for investment in cycleways, footways, bus infrastructure and crossings.

Earlier this year, the county council began work on a £8.1m scheme to improve seven junctions on the southern section of the A326 in Fawley and Hythe. The upgrade will mitigate extra traffic from the Fawley power station development of about 1,500 homes and improve routes to work and education.

Roundabouts in Holbury, Hardley and Dibden have have been or are being tackled as part of the first phase of the project, and phase two will include widening the approaches and exit lanes to Applemore Roundabout, at A326/Holbury Drove and Southbourne Avenue and Dibden Purlieu Roundabout. There will also be a new signalised junction and crossing facilities in Fawley.

It has been funded by a £5.7m grant from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and £2.4m from Fawley Waterside Ltd, the company behind the power station scheme.

Cllr Humby said any improvement to the northern end of the A326 was likely to involve "major upgrade works for the road, public transport, and walking and cycling provision, and will need significant government funding”.

HCC is also looking into the feasibility of reopening the Waterside railway line between Totton and a point south of Hythe, in the vicinity of the original Hardley Halt station.

The route has been shut to public trains for 50 years, but HCC says bringing it back into use by passenger trains could help alleviate congestion pressures on the A326 – sometimes referred to as the “longest cul-de-sac in Hampshire”.

To take part in the bus improvements surveys, go to one or more of the following links before Tuesday 2nd November: www.hants.gov.uk/transport/transportschemes/tcfrushingtonroundaboutimprovements, www.hants.gov.uk/transport/transportschemes/tcfmarchwoodbypassimprovements, www.hants.gov.uk/transport/transportschemes/tcfjunctionroadtottonimprovement

Alternatively, a paper copy of the surveys can be obtained by calling 0300 555 1388.

For details of the A326 upgrade, visit www.hants.gov.uk/transport/transportschemes/a326southfawleywaterside

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