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Traffic Matters - TrustNews December 07

You might think traffic congestion in Winchester is a modern phenomenon but in the 1930's congestion was so bad that Winchester was one of the first towns in the country to have a bypass. Whats more this was one of the very first dual carriageways built in the United Kingdom.

The first Winchester Bypass took the A33 London to Southampton trunk road from Kings Worthy to Compton around the foot of St Catherines Hill. However the A31 London to Bournemouth trunk road continued through the centre of Winchester until the 1960's. The A31 went along Morn Hill, the High Street, through the Westgate Arch and along Romsey Road. Indeed Winchester High Street was a two-way trunk road. The A34 Preston to Southampton trunk road went through the centre of Winchester until 1969. Jewry Street was two way and all the A34 traffic crossed the A31 traffic at the Jewry Street/High Street/Southgate Street Junction.

In the 1950/60's policemen on point duty struggled to clear this traffic but to no avail, resulting in huge queues on the Andover and St Cross roads, especially on bank holidays. It was not until the 1990's that the A272 was re-routed by signing it around Winchester to Three Maids Hill and on to Stockbridge via Hill Farm Cross and the A30. Modern maps now show no main roads passing through Winchester.

David Marklew