Cars queuing for petrol spark calls for action
HIGHWAYS chiefs are being asked to investigate additional safety measures at Portishead's Cabstand junction to stop people blocking the road while waiting to get into the town's only fuel station.
Councillor David Pasley has asked North Somerset highways officers to consider putting in additional measures – possibly a mini roundabout or hatched area – on the road outside the entrance to the Waitrose garage.
The plea follows mounting concern about the number of vehicles queuing onto the road while waiting to get into the fuel station.
Often traffic comes to a standstill as cars waiting for fuel spill out on to the junction, stopping other motorists from getting through.
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Mr Pasley said: "Problems are being caused by people queuing to get into the Cabstand garage.
"The cars are spilling out onto the junction, making it very difficult for other vehicles to get through and ultimately clogging up the junction.
"It is becoming increasingly dangerous as it is causing frustration amongst motorists. I have asked highway officers to consider whether some sort of measures can be introduced to stop people queuing onto the highway.
"This could perhaps be a mini roundabout or a hatched area on the road to stop parking.
"The problem is that this is the only garage in the town and that is why it has such a high level of usage. The junction has worked far better since the lights were switched off, but the queuing onto the highway is now causing problems.
"It is infuriating, particularly at busy times of the day, when sometimes, traffic can go nowhere."
The controversial traffic lights – installed in 2008 at a cost of £800,000 – were switched off at the junction as part of a trial in September 2009 following pressure from residents and councillors who said they were causing long tailbacks in the town.
The trial proved such a success that the lights were switched off permanently and later removed.
A mini roundabout was then put in place at the junction of High Street with Wyndham Way to help with traffic flow around the junction.
Portishead, which currently has a population of around 22,000, only has the Waitrose petrol station at Cabstand.
People needing fuel when the filling station is closed have to travel along the already congested Portbury Hundreds to the M5 Gordano Services or to the neighbouring towns of Nailsea or Clevedon.
Plans are in the pipeline for a second fuel station as part of plans by furniture giant Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins to build a 45,000sq ft store, 10,000 sq ft retails unit at a fuel station on land at Gordano Gate.
Supermarket giant Sainsbury's – which is due to build a new superstore in the town – is also looking for a site for a new fuel station.
Mr Pasley added: "The sooner Portishead gets an additional fuel station, the better."
Bosses at Waitrose said they monitored the situation when the garage was busy.
Waitrose Portishead department manager, Paul Lambert, said: "We make sure we serve customers as quickly as possible to try and ease the backlog and stop queuing onto the highway. At busy times staff go out and manage the forecourt and ensure customers utilise all the pumps."
North Somerset Council said it would look at the request.