This morning the traffic ground to a halt across Caversham, spilling over into Reading, due to the temporary traffic lights near Caversham Bridge at the junction of Church Street and Church Road. Those drivers who abandoned the slog to cross the river either turned back home or dumped their car by the roadside.
Cars backed up from Caversham Bridge up through Caversham Heights along the A4074 all the way over the Oxfordshire boundary to the turnoff to Mapledurham House. I don't know how far on the A4155 to Henley, or indeed the Peppard Road the gridlock went, but know that it wasn't until well after 10 am that the Woodcote Road backlog was dealt with.
I spoke with Reading Borough Council's Network Manager Simon Beasley today and he explained what happened.
The temporary lights failed last night and the engineer who came out at about 11.30 pm got them back up, without realising the lights reverted to their default 3-way setting instead of the 2-way setting needed. This morning when the construction workers arrived they realised and reported the problem. However gridlock had set in across Caversham long before and by then was well established. In order to release the pressure, manual control was instigated. First the traffic from Reading, next the Henley Road approach and finally the A4074 were cleared.
The good news is the works to install the new traffic lights at the Church Street/Road junction are on schedule to finish this Sunday. Simon reassured me that if the temporary lights fail again in the meantime, the Council has notified the emergency call out engineers to reset the lights on the 2-way setting.
Once the new traffic lights are up and running do let me know if the Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation (MOVA) system makes an improvement to traffic flowing through the junction.
GetReading has the following report