Update: I’ve had an email this morning from Southampton City Council’s ‘Actionline’, as follows:
I can confirm work will be ending in Platform Road on the 8th April.
There may be a slight congestion but most road works around in Terminus Terrace, Queens Terrace,Town Quay will all be ending on the 8th April so this shouldn’t effect your travels.
So I shall be hoping for reports of the true state of affairs next Monday.
I’ve been reading comments in on-line forums about problems exiting the car park at Dock Gate 4 at the end of a cruise. Some accounts talk of a couple of hours, or more, queued up waiting just to get out of the car park and onto the public roads in that part of Southampton; other accounts describe no problems at all.
However, a bit of digging around the Southampton City Council website revealed some interesting information. Platform Road is the road that runs past the entrance to Dock Gate 4, which is the gate for the QEII and Ocean terminals. At the present time (or up until the end of 2013, certainly) the road was one-way, westbound; it’s now being made dual carriageway with a traffic-light controlled turning for eastbound traffic to get into Dock Gate 4. That’s got to be an improvement (albeit from a purely selfish viewpoint – at that stage of the journey I just want to get into the dock). I well remember the first time we had to embark from the QEII terminal, which is accessed via Dock Gate 4. We had no idea where we were going, just grimly following signs to Dock Gate 4 (having come into Southampton from the M271) which of course took us round the Queen’s Park gyratory, of which we were completely unfamiliar. So we were surprised when the road swung left *away* from the docks; then right; then hard right; and then we found ourselves whizzing straight past the entrance to Dock Gate 4 because we hadn’t realised that we had to get over to the left-hand side so quickly. Nightmare. And then trying to find somewhere to turn round, because of course we then missed the right-turn back into the gyratory….. Anyway, here are couple of documents all about the present scheme. Here’s a web-page overview, and here’s what looks like a public leaflet in PDF form.
I’m not exactly clear on how long the works will take – some of those documents refer to the end of 2014, while an on-line map shows the roadwork symbols in place until April 2015. What seems certain is that on busy days, the roadwork are currently, or certainly have been, causing significant delays in getting out of Dock Gate 4 and onto Platform Road.
And talking of busy days in Southampton brings me onto the second point of this post – ‘3 Queens Days’; that is, occasions when all three Cunard ‘Queens’ are gathered together. I’ve done a few posts about these in the past – here (when the 3 Queens were QEII, QM2 and QV), and here, for example – and I recently posted about the planned 3 Queens days on 2015, Cunard’s 175th anniversary year. However I had missed that there is a 3 Queens day this year, on 9 May, in Southampton. Also present in port that day will be Arcadia, so ship-spotters will have a chance to see all three UK-based Vista-class (and Vista-derivative) ships together; I’m not sure that that’s happened before. It’s obviously going to be a busy day, and both QEII and Ocean terminals will be in use (for Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 respectively). Dock Gate 4 will be busy, therefore, so there might well be delays. Here’s a link to the Southampton cruise schedule; scroll down the list unto you see the calls for 9 May, and you can see where the ships will be berthed.