Driving instructors are warning that a new roundabout project in Hampshire has resulted in a ‘confusing race track’ that will cause chaos on the roads.
The £20 million project has seen the construction of a new junction at the Brighton Hill roundabout in Basingstoke.
But dozens of instructors have called it ‘dangerous’ because the road signs and markings ‘make no sense’ meaning drivers are unsure which lane to be in.
It’s left people across Hampshire complaining about it ‘every single day’.
The project, which took two years and was completed last winter, was formed with the intention of ‘making travel easier’ but it seems to have done the opposite.
And one instructor has gone so far as to call it a ‘comedy of errors’ caused by ‘shoddy workmanship’.
Photos show how one road sign has been partly obscured by traffic lights, a bus stop and another sign.
So just months after the roundabout was completed Hampshire County Council is relocating two traffic signs to a ‘more suitable location’ and to ‘improve visibility to the traffic signals’ after an influx of complaints from drivers.
It was built initially to improve access to the town and reduce congestion by installing a traffic lights system with overpasses.
But a total of 24 driving instructors have now shared their concerns and criticisms about the project.
Instructor Stephen Sillitoe said: ‘The roundabout markings and signage make no sense and some turns are not doable.’
The 54-year-old said instructors are finding it hard to get to the district of South Ham in particular as the markings and signs on the roundabout are wrong.
He went on to explain how it’s nearly impossible to move lanes in heavy traffic, adding: ‘If qualified drivers don’t know how to navigate it how am I meant to teach a learner to?’
Because of this only three directions on the roundabout are currently being used by instructors.
And Mr Sillitoe is appealing to the council to ‘explain’ or ‘highlight’ the roundabout errors, adding: ‘They must have known or had an idea how the roundabout would work when they designed it and we need to know.
‘We hope that if they explain this it will help highlight if the signage or road markings are wrong.
‘If you just ignore the signs it works but if you follow the signs it doesn’t and I can’t teach learners to ignore the signs.’
Another instructor, who wanted to remain anonymous, explained how, especially if you’re not familiar with the area, people will get really confused by the roundabout.
And local drivers have also taken to social media to share their complaints.
In response to a Facebook post from Hampshire County Council about the roundabout, David Floyd commented: ‘I can’t get my head around how it cost [£20 million] and 2 years to build a roundabout that was already there.’
John Chappel replied to Basingstoke MP Maria Miller’s Facebook post announcing the completion of the project, saying: ‘Went across it twice today, has turned a normal roundabout into a confusing race track with people [having] no idea what lane they are or should be in.
‘The safe pedestrian underpass have gone leaving people to run the gauntlet of crossing busy roads at numerous traffic lights.
‘The person responsible for this waste of public money needs sacking and that is putting it mildly.’
Another angry resident, Zac Brindle, posted: ‘Some pretty shoddy workmanship on dome of the lanes with patchwork asphalt. How much did it cost again?’
Carol Peters, added: ‘I thought it was fine as it was, now it’s confusing as no one knows what is the correct lane.’
The council has announced that ‘planned works’ will take place next Monday to move two traffic signs in the hope of improving visibility of them.
A post on the councils’ website outlined the need for a road closure next week, adding: ‘The new directional sign on the approach to the roundabout will be moved to a more suitable location in advance of the roundabout to improve visibility to the offside traffic signal head.’
A Hampshire County Council spokesperson said: ‘Brighton Hill Roundabout has been designed to meet current design standards, and this includes signage and road markings.
‘We recognise that once a new road scheme is in operation, particularly at a complex junction such as this one, there may be adjustments that we need to make to help drivers familiarise themselves with the changed layout.
‘As part of our ongoing monitoring of the Brighton Hill site and following engagement with local road users – including driving test examiners – some road markings and signage are to be revised to further assist drivers.’
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