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11:00 - 05 December 2005
The Highways Agency has forecast traffic chaos during the rush hours at junction 19 of the M5 after all the new houses have been built at Portishead marina. It claims that during the evening peak period, queues will form all the way across the Avon Bridge, making the motorway and junction 18 at Avonmouth more dangerous.

The agency's network strategy manager for the South West, Ron Davies, claims the problem has been caused by the increasing number of new homes being built at Port Marine without it being consulted. The agency claims that North Somerset Council has not done enough to keep it up to date.

A total of 4,000 homes have been earmarked for the marina, but the number could rise by a further 150.

In a letter to the council's planning department, Mr Davies said: "Junction 19 will suffer extreme congestion during the evening peak period with all the currently planned development in Portishead completed and with the additional 150 homes.

"This will extend north all the way across the Avonmouth Bridge and would be likely to compromise the safe operation of the motorway and junction 18. The problem has been brought about by the increased dwellings at Port Marine on which the agency has not been consulted."

Council spokesman Stephen Makin said: "The Highways Agency was approached in 1997 at the outline planning stage.

He said they had discussed other housing schemes in the town with the agency.

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There is one the cut the traffic jams coming out of Portishead and that is to re open the rail line to passengers.But that is to much of a sensible solution so it will never happen.
nick, bristol

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