Eastern Way

Perhaps the most important development in 20th Century Fareham, Eastern Way takes the A27 out of the town centre (or half of it at least - the other half is provided by Western Way). True pedants will be keen to point out that Eastern Way is actually shared between the A27 and the A32 throughout, and while that is correct, the A32 becomes almost marginalised around Fareham town centre, and barely gets a look in on the signs.

Flyover under constructionQuay Street Roundabout improvements (1985, picture credits)

The road was opened in 1971 and referred to in planning documents as the Fareham Southern Bypass or Eastern Link, its main purpose being to cut the corner between Gosport Road and Cams Hill. The original layout was a large roundabout which utilised the railway viaduct, this was then shifted northwards slightly when Western Way was added.

Subsequent roadworks have masked just how sharp the road turned in order to meet it at the roundabout. In 1985, a southbound filter lane and the quirky single lane flyover attempted to temporarily take the pressure off the roundabout. Eastern Way westbound was widened at the same time, taking it to three lanes. Eastern Way is a couple of years older than Western Way, and until that was built a half-hearted attempt at the roundabout, running through the arches and with a yard in the middle, existed.

The dual carriageway heads east through what was mostly privately owned fields, before crossing Bath Lane, demolishing about seven houses in the process. Splitting up Bath Lane meant that alternative access was needed for what became Lower Bath Lane, and this was provided via one of Eastern Way's new sliproads, using reclaimed land.

From the Bath Lane subway (where a precarious footpath joins us), more gardens were taken up, although four properties (located on The Esplanade, the predecessor to Deanes Park Road) were lost at the Delme junction.

The Delme flyover isn't original: it was retrofitted in 1985, at a cost of £1.7m (plus £0.7m in roadworks). Until then, the two carriageways simply pulled apart, and dropped down steeply to form the sliproads. The flyover was set to include electronic signs warning high vehicles about the bridges. It looks like there may have been subways beneath the sliproads, and they each had a realigned road (Deanes Park Road and East Street) plugged in to them.

J11 Spur

Fields through which the J11 spur runsThe route of the spur before it was built (1972, library photo). Lines show approximate routes of new roads.

Eastern Way is only short, and it ends here, but since we're here and the next road has no name we might as well continue. The road up to J11 was opened in 1976 as part of the motorway contract, which is reflected in its better build standard. From the flyover, it climbs steeply up the hill on which Fort Wallington was built, as a result of this, the sliproads are extraordinarily long, as they struggle to rise up to the road and make the climb at the same time. It cuts across the path of Pinks Hill, which means it now meets Pinks Hill at a lax angle that lends itself to many wrong-way accidents.

It continues to rise and curves north, carving up Military Road (a privately owned link between the forts) in the process. Coupled with the M27, one section of Military Road is now only accessible locally via Paradise Lane, as it has been isolated.

By the time it reaches the roundabout known as the Wallington Interchange, the road is at a considerable height above the M27, leaving the motorway in a deep cutting, spoil from which was used to build J12 and the M275, which both encroach on seawater.

The Route of the Motorway

This seems like an appropriate place to discuss the route of Fareham's bypass, which J11 owes its very existence to.

As construction started on other parts of the proposed South Coast Trunk Road (maiden name for what become the M27 Southampton - Chichester motorway), ideas were still torn for the route around Fareham. Gosport Council had heard of a route running north of Titchfield and Stubbington, south of Hoeford, and then south of Portchester along the coastline and over the mud flats, and wanted this to alleviate its traffic problems. Portsmouth City Council wanted most of that route, but suggested it go around Portchester to the north instead. Fareham Urban District Council wanted the chosen route north of the town (albeit only just - when it came to voting on its position, it won 13-8), and Hampshire were firmly in favour of the northern route.

The drawn swords over the two routes hindered the project, and an independent study began by stopping motorists on the existing A27 and asking them where they were going. The study concluded that while the southern route would be better for traffic, it wouldn't justify the extra millions (the exact figure was £1m extra, plus any engineering difficulties considering the route, and any compensation paid to the shipping industry as some of Portsmouth Harbour would have been cut off), and both plans would require Gosport Road to be tripled in width for it to help Gosport.

The study suggested the best solution would be the northern (chosen) route, and a bridge between Gosport and Portsmouth. This was much relief to people in Portchester, who feared the southern route would have carved their village. The new route was then protected, and held only portacabins, while Paulsgrove was developed around it.