WITH just a week to go until this year's Bestival, when tens of thousands of revellers are expected to head to the Isle of Wight for four days of music, traffic plans have been announced.
Following the chaos that surrounded this year's Isle of Wight Festival, when large parts of the Island were gridlocked, a council spokesman said today (Thursday) they were working with event organisers, ferry companies and the police to keep the Island moving.
The spokesman said: "Although organisers are encouraging festival-goers to travel to the Island as foot passengers, the Island is gearing up for an additional 5,500 vehicles travelling between the ferry terminals and event site.
"Bestival traffic is expected to arrive on the Island on Wednesday with the busiest times for traffic expected to be Thursday and Friday commuter times and Monday morning. Islanders are advised to plan their journeys to avoid the designated routes and both the Robin Hill roundabout and Hare and Hounds junctions wherever possible or to allow extra time for their journeys."
Ferry companies have worked closely with event organisers and the Isle of Wight Council to plan for the influx of Bestival-goers.
According to the Isle of Wight Council: "Wightlink has developed plans to avoid congestion around its Fishbourne terminal and surrounding roads which could inconvenience local residents and Bestival attendees.
"All Bestival traffic travelling between Portsmouth Gunwharf and Fishbourne to the parking or camping on site will be issued with a YELLOW car park sign to fix to their windscreens. This provides directions to the car parks designated for Wightlink customers travelling from Fishbourne and will make them easily identifiable when being loaded on to the ferries and also on arrival.
"Cars will be directed to turn left at the traffic lights out of Fishbourne Lane and required to follow Bestival event signage rather than sat nav directions.
"Those travelling via Yarmouth will also be advised to follow event signage direct to the Bestival site.
"Foot passengers travelling from Ryde will be advised to proceed to the coach bays on The Esplanade where they can pick up Big Green Coach shuttle buses direct to the Bestival site.
"All Red Funnel vehicle customers are provided with a travel information guide and advised on departure from Southampton and throughout the weekend only to arrive for their booked sailing time.
"To minimise traffic disruption for the residents and businesses of East Cowes on Monday 10 September, Red Funnel have a traffic management system in place throughout the day.
"All ferry traffic (excluding booked freight vehicles) will enter the system at Whippingham (Beatrice Avenue) which will manage the flow of vehicles entering East Cowes. This will be clearly signed and well staffed on the day by Red Funnel staff, Isle of Wight Council highways and the police.
"Red Funnel is also planning for high volumes of foot passengers on both the vehicle service and Red Jet on Thursday, Friday and Monday which connect with Big Green Coach shuttle bus services and taxis to the Bestival site. As in previous years, those with valid Season Tickets; pre-paid travel card customers; elderly and disabled customers; and passengers with NHS/hospital appointments for these dates will be prioritised where possible. Customers should still expect some delays and are advised to allow plenty of additional time for meeting onward connections.
"During the Bestival period (6-10 September), foot passenger Season Ticket and Multilink foot passenger ticket holders will be treated as reserved passengers, however to guarantee boarding holders will be required to 'check-in’ at the terminal, a minimum of 15 minutes prior to their scheduled departure."
The council said the following steps had also been taken to deal with the traffic:
• A map (see below) detailing routes for Bestival traffic from the East Cowes and Fishbourne ferry terminals to the event site has been produced showing areas residents are advised to avoid if possible.
• Council staff will be at key locations and patrolling designated routes and surrounding areas to marshal traffic and provide advice to motorists if necessary.
• Officers will be gathering real-time information on traffic flows and providing regular traffic updates to residents via the council’s facebook and twitter feeds, website and local media.
• To assist in the free flow of traffic along key routes, vehicles illegally parked on roads designated and signed as 'clearways’ will be towed away.
• Contingency plans are in place to keep the traffic moving should any of the key routes become blocked or access to the site limited.
Map courtesy of the Isle of Wight Council.