DRIVERS in Basingstoke experienced the longest traffic delays since 2019, according to the latest figures published by the Department for Transport.

The figures, which report the average delay on A roads by local authority, revealed that Hampshire drivers experienced an average of 29.5 seconds in delays for each mile of travelling in 2023, a 2.1 second increase from the previous year.

Across Basingstoke, drivers were caught in traffic congestion for longer than any year since 2019, although some roads were considerably slower than others.

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The A3010, Churchill Way East, one of the main roads through the the town, faces the longest average vehicle delay, with drivers held up by 32.9 seconds for every mile travelled, 3.4 seconds longer than the Hampshire average.

Despite a widespread year-on-year decrease in delays over the past four years, the data for 2023 reversed the trend with a net increase in delays in every A road through Basingstoke.

Although the worst congestion was along the A3010, drivers on the A340 last year faced the second-highest average slowdown of 22.4 seconds per mile travelled.

Drivers travelling on the A33, connecting Basingstoke to Southampton, faced hold-ups of 18 seconds per mile, while the least congested road was the A339, which forms the eastern and northern parts of the Basingstoke ring road, at 15.2 seconds.

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The county's most congested road was the A335, where drivers who travelled between Southampton and the M3 experienced average delays of 92.5 seconds per mile travelled. 

The Department for Transport didn’t provide specific explanations for the widespread increase in delay times across 2023, however they do warn that the data between 2020 and 2022 was affected by the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

The TomTom Traffic Index, which has collected data on traffic flow since 2011, indicated that traffic congestion dropped significantly across the Covid-19 pandemic, caused by a combination of national travel restrictions and changes in driving habits.

In December 2022, the Department for Transport issued a report based on pandemic disruption, predicting traffic congestion and delays would rise year-on-year as traffic levels grow to outpace road capacity.

Although some areas in Hampshire have now returned to, and in some cases exceeded pre-pandemic delay times, Basingstoke has yet to experience average delays greater than in 2019.