Caroline is committed to tackling the problem of congestion on the A32 and other access roads and holds regular meetings with local stakeholders and government Ministers to seek potential solutions. She has welcomed successive transport Ministers to the area.
Her interventions have helped to secure a combined investment of over £90m since 2010 for highway improvement projects for the Gosport peninsula, including Newgate Lane North & South, St Margaret's Roundabout, the Bus Rapid Transit Phase 1a, Station Roundabout, Gudge Heath Lane/Redlands Lane junction and Peel Common Roundabout which are all completed. As well as the Bus Rapid Transit extension, dualling of the A27, new on/off motorway access at junction 10 of the M27, M27 Smart Motorway works and improvements to Junction 9 which are all in the pipeline or underway.
Like everyone else, Caroline would like to see improvements to the A32, but significant widening or upgrading is not feasible given the number of houses that run alongside it. Some people have suggested a bridge from Gosport to Portsmouth, however, as well as being eye-wateringly expensive, this would certainly open Gosport up to the very large scale housing target numbers in every other part of Hampshire.
In 2015 Caroline met with the then Chancellor, George Osborne, to secure the funding necessary to carry out the preliminary work for the Stubbington Bypass. Since then, Caroline pushed Hampshire County Council and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership to do all they can to deliver the Bypass. In 2016 she met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP; the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP; the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Sajid Javid MP; and the Local Growth Minister, Andrew Percy MP to call for the remaining funding needed to complete the Stubbington Bypass.
Caroline's persistent lobbying over her years as MP helped to secure £25.7m of Government funding to complete the Stubbington Bypass, which was confirmed in 2017. This new access route to the peninsula is essential for reducing journey times and congestion onto and off the Gosport peninsula, removing barriers to growth and investment. A Public Inquiry into the Stubbington Bypass took place in 2018 and Caroline urged the Secretary of State to consider the Inspector’s Report as soon as possible to ensure there are no more delays to this integral project. In May 2019 the Transport Secretary gave the project approval.
She has also worked hard to improve public transport services in the area, promoting the Eclipse Bus scheme and working with local Councillors and other stakeholders to find solutions to the challenges posed by changes to local bus services.
The Rapid Transit Eclipse services have achieved passenger growth of around 65% compared to the services they replaced, which has led to an overall increase in bus use in Gosport and Fareham of 12%. In 2017, the Department of Transport's Productivity Investment Fund awarded £6.9m to the BRT project meaning that the busway will be extended from Tichborne Way to Rowner Road. An amended planning application to provide a safer route for this extension was approved in Spring 2019. This enhanced option would retain Rowner Road bridge as well as the existing shared-use route for pedestrians and cyclists under Rowner Road.
Caroline has previously submitted deputations to Hampshire County Council in support of preserving local bus routes and regularly meets with First Bus to discuss bus services in the local area including the impact of bus route changes on constituents.
She is pleased with the progress of cycle paths and walkways in our local area and wants to see these successes built on, with walking and cycling the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey.
Caroline has called for faster train links between London and Portsmouth, holding a debate in Parliament to raise her concerns about transport infrastructure in the south coast. You can find this here .
Caroline led a successful campaign for the restoration of the entitlement to Home to Duty Travel Allowance for service personnel travelling to work on the Gosport Ferry, promoting a more sustainable journey to work, and reducing congestion on key roads on and off the peninsula.