MP calls on Highways England to suspend ‘chaotic’ A27 census

The A27 census caused widespread disruption for motorists in Worthing, Lancing and Shoreham this week
The A27 census caused widespread disruption for motorists in Worthing, Lancing and Shoreham this week

TRAFFIC ‘chaos’ on the roads prompted the area’s MP to pen an urgent letter to the Highways England calling on them to suspend a census on the A27 which has caused widespread disruption.

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton revealed his anger at the study today (Thursday, June 25).

It comes after scores of commuters travelling through Shoreham, Lancing and Worthing were asked to complete the survey from Highways England.

The agency was gathering data to form proposals on how to improve the A27.

However, in doing so, they – along with the help of Sussex Police – ordered one in four drivers to stop and answer a series of questions during rush hour, causing long tailbacks from Lancing to the Southwick Tunnel.

Mr Loughton said: “This census has caused chaos and the way in which it was conducted was simply unacceptable.

“No warning was given, least of all to me. I support the Highways Agency in researching appropriate proposals to improve the A27 and of course I have been very involved in getting this project off the ground at long last but the way they are going about it is all wrong.

“Drivers had to wait in some cases five times longer than usual and this is hardly going to encourage local residents to cooperate with research for this essential work in future.

“Given the amount of technology available these days I fail to see how there are not less disruptive ways to gather necessary data. The official national census certainly did not cause this much disruption and annoyance.

“It is ironic that work to reduce congestion on the A27 itself caused maximum congestion and the police and highways officials carrying out the work were oblivious to the disruption they were responsible for.

A spokesman for Highways England said the survey was now ‘substantially complete’ and thanked drivers for their patience and co-operation.

He apologised for any delay but said all the data would be used to improve the A27, with a consultation due later this year on the possible schemes.

He added: “We hope the short-term congestion will be outweighed by the long-term benefits of an improved A27.

“Unfortunately, to get the most accurate results there are times when we have to survey at peaks times, when the roads could be at their most congested.”

He added the agency had not given prior warning of the census as this could skew the data received, ultimately undermining any results and possible recommendations based on them.