...but outside the gardens it’s traffic hell
MOTORISTS faced horrific two-hour, six-mile queues on the A3 on Wednesday as thousands of visitors travelled to the RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show.
Traffic began to build in the area shortly before 10am on the approach to the A3M25 Wisley Interchange at junction 10. Highways England said much of the traffic was for the Wisley Flower Show, which got under way on Tuesday and will run until Sunday.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing cars and coaches dropping off passengers beside the A3 and using the footbridge to get to Wisley, rather than battle through the A3 traffic.
Advertiser photographer Grahame Larter, who got caught in the delays after covering a suspected ram raid on a Co-Op store in Chertsey, described the scene as “complete chaos”.
A spokesman for RHS Wisley said traffic was flowing into the Wisley site and stressed gardens staff were helping people into car parks.
“Our show has not been, and is not, causing any backups,” he said. “Wisley Lane, leading up to our entrance, is clear and our dedicated team is ensuring that traffic can park smoothly.”
However, back on the A3, it was a morning, and soon an afternoon, of misery for tens of thousands of motorists stuck in northbound queues back to Send – around six miles in distance.
Susan Hutchins and her husband were among those caught up in the rush.
“We’ve been sitting in it for 90 minutes now,” she told our website getsurrey at around 12.30pm.
Around 45 minutes later, she added: “We are very near Wisley at last, but I can see it taking another 30 minutes. We left Farnham at 10.45am – not a happy husband with me.”
The couple did eventually arrive at Wisley at around 1.30pm.
At 11.35am, Highways England issued its first traffic and travel warning concerning Wisley.
“#A3 long delays in both directions due to the flower show at #Wisley. Please allow extra journey time if travelling in the area,” it tweeted.
Shortly after 1pm, Highways England added: “#A3 delays starting to reduce both ways due to the flower show at #Wisley. Please do still allow extra journey time if travelling in the area.”
The irony of the situation was not lost on some Advertiser readers either.
Highways England is currently exploring a number of options to improve the A3M25 Wisley junction, which include widening the A3.
However, this would likely come at the expense of eating into part of the RHS Wisley site, threatening up to 500 historic trees.
Steve Sturt said: “Sounds like they need to widen the A3 at Wisley.”
Craig Toppin added: “Every year, it’s the same.”
Advertiser photographer Grahame Larter added: “It’s complete chaos, in a nutshell. I left Chertsey at 10am, it’s 11.35am now and I’ve still not got near Wisley.
“I’ve just seen a coach drop off its passengers beside the A3 so they can take the footbridge to get to Wisley.
“There was a minor RTC near the Wisley junction in the outside lane, but the main issue is the flower show traffic.
“It’s taken me an hour and a half to get here from Chertsey, it’s just nightmarish. More and more people are dropping off their passengers to take the footbridge.
“Drivers are also taking up the middle lane too and trying to cut into the lane for the slip road, which is really holding things up.”