A fortnight after scores of Islanders sat in hours of traffic, following the failure of lights on Newport’s Medina Way, Island Roads has admitted it should have warned us about the issue sooner.
School children missed lessons and workers were up to two hours late on 4 July, when a problem with the traffic lights on the dual carriageway, at its junction with the Fairlee Road slipway, could not be immediately fixed.
The morning rush hour saw the worst of the traffic build-up. In the evening, the slip road could be used by traffic leaving the dual carriageway and turning onto Fairlee Road.
The lights actually failed on Wednesday night, nearly 30 hours before they were eventually mended. However, Islanders were not immediately warned about the problem. When a fix was requested, a mainland team was able to complete the work on Thursday night, within two hours of being on the Isle of Wight.
In a statement on 5 July, the Isle of Wight Council’s leader Dave Stewart said:
“We recognise the problems that road users faced…and I’d like to thank everyone who was delayed by the fault for their patience and understanding. We’re now looking carefully at what happened, to see if there are lessons to be learned.
“The fault was caused by a serious electronic failure, which meant a part had to be brought from the mainland. The council and Island Roads were, throughout Thursday, in consultation with the emergency services and other key stakeholders. To monitor the situation, Island Roads staff drove along the affected route during the afternoon to provide accurate feedback on driving conditions.
“The signage, media publicity and social media coverage had some effect during the day, and in addition the greatest movement of traffic during the evening rush hour was out of Newport, so the congestion in the evening was not as severe as in the morning.
“Discussions between emergency planning partners were ongoing up until confirmation that the lights had been fixed came shortly before 8pm on Thursday night, just under 27 hours after the fault occurred.”
It is unclear if emergency planning partners began their work when the lights first failed on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Island drivers have questioned why the lights were not controlled manually during the worst of the rush hour problems.
Admitting that clearer communication was needed, Island Roads said in a statement to Isle of Wight Radio,
“Island Roads routinely informs residents both by Twitter and via the local media, of its daily work programme and also of traffic-related issues as they happen. While updates were given on Thursday (July 4th) we accept that information should have been relayed sooner.
“Island Roads has already apologised for the inconvenience caused during this incident and we are happy to do so again.”