Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Gilgal Roadworks leaflet

After the 'concerns' over shutting down what is essentially the main route into Stourport for 5 weeks Severn Trent, in conjunction with the other contractors, have commissioned a nice glossy leaflet to inform us as to why bending over and dropping our trousers is in fact good for us in the long term.

By working together, our aim is to keep disruption to a minimum as all the parties complete the work within the same time period
Okay first off shouldn't that be the normal method of operations and secondly this isn't a "disruption" it's a major f***ing catastrophe. See I don't know about you but I wouldn't object to a longer "disruption" if it meant you weren't shutting down the major route into our town.
On behalf of all the parties I would like to say thank you for your understanding and patience
Well that's bloody assumptious of you I'm offering neither understanding or patience.

Onto the 10-page leaflet entitled "Investing and renewing your essential services" subtitled "Working in a busy place to get the job done" see they're doing it for us so we can't complain.

So why are they doing it? Obviously it's to
carry out necessary asset renewal work
Excuse me, could you repeat that in common English please. Ah good the next page gives details. STW are changing a pipe; WCC are replacing street lights (a feat they managed to do on Vale Road over two afternoons I might add); e-on will be adding a 11,000 volt cable up Mitton Street from Worcester Road (so no real 'disruptions' from them); and good old Balfour Beatty will be the ones digging everything up, then re-laying everything, then digging everything up again to fix the problems they left behind, then re-laying it again, then ignoring the remaining problems.
What we are doing to keep disruption to a minimum
Oo would that be not closing down the major access route into our town? I'm guessing not.
If you use the Gigal route [...]
So that would be if you live in Stourport or visit Stourport or work in Stourport, you know just to narrow the field down a bit.
[...] you are probably aware that the road is very limited and narrow, meaning that the only way to do the work is to close the road
Oh and look at the jump there, did you spot it? Road is narrow ergo road must be closed. So just out of curiosity how does that work on single lane carriageways?
We understand that the one-way section which runs along The Gigal and into Mitton Street is a busy route used by locals and commuters especially between Bewdley and Worcester
No I don't think you do otherwise you'd a) realise why it's so heavily used by locals; b) wouldn't be referring to it as "The" Gilgal, it's just Gilgal; and c) wouldn't be highlighting just one type of journey as worthy of reference.

Then we get the timetable running from 18 September until 22 November. Phase 1 is fine a weekend shutdown of the top of Vale Road, an event that will be even less disruptive than the weekend shutdowns of the bridge.

Phase 2 is the biggy the complete shutdown of Gilgal and past the Total petrol station up to Worcester Road for 5 weeks.
contractors will be taking advantage of the longer daylight hours and will be working weekends to complete the works in as short a time as possible
Again shouldn't that be standard working practice? Oh no of course not silly me this sort of concerted effort takes money.

Phase 3 open up Gilgal and shutdown one lane of Mitton Street which we've had done before so no biggy.

Oh and again they thank us for our "understanding".

Oo a nice section here of Q&As. And as our lead question we have the hot burning topic -
Why couldn't the work be done using traffic lights and keeping one lane open?
See a good question, how do they answer that?
We need to make sure that the work is carried out with everyone's safety in mind. The Gilgal is very limited and narrow and with the amount of work being done the safest and fastest way to do the work is to close the road completely.
Okay point knocked off again for "The" Gilgal, but how can you argue with safety well I'm looking at "the amount of work being done" now is that all together, because obviously the only reason for that is because you've scheduled it all at the same time. Now "safest" is solved by plonking a speed limit down as they do with everything else, as for "fastest" that's only a real concern because you're shutting down the entire road.

the next two questions are why the short notice and why do it now, quickly answered by wanting to get all the work done by all the different contractors and not wanting services disrupted later in the year. Fair enough. Next question however.
What is the main effect of the road closure?
Oo oo I know this is it "Seriously f***ing up Stourport?" Ah damn I'm wrong apparently it's
Traffic travelling towards Worcester will be most affected with the need for it to follow a fully signed diversion. Traffic from Worcester will not be affected as much as the existing route will still be available. Delays caused by the work may affect journey times and drivers are advised to allow more time for their journey.
Which goes to show that the county council don't know shit about traffic patterns around here. Point 1 is that Stourport is used as a Kidderminster by-pass because that's choked with traffic. Point 2 it's the main f***ing route into the town. So on both points stop talking about Worcester traffic damn they're egocentric. Pont 3 "may" sorry what was that again "may affect journey times" no shit Sherlock you think a 13 mile diversion "may affect journey times". That a 13 mile diversion during rush-hour through an already choked town "may affect journey times" I'm sorry I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But what about the emergency services? Glad you asked.
We have spoken with the emergency services and West Mercia Police who have had a leading role in sorting this problem out. Because The Gilgal is a vital route for the emergency services we will make sure that an emergency access space is available at all times to allow an emergency vehicle to go through The Gilgal with police and our assistance. We hope you will understand that this is very different to normal vehicle access and does not reduce the need for a full road closure.
Snort sorry "emergency services and West Mercia Police" does that mean the police aren't emergency services? Hmm it seems "The" Gilgal is a vital route gee why would that be, would it be the 13 mile detour necessary to get around it? Note the pre-emptive "hope we understand" about how this is different to keeping a lane open, um no sorry can't see the difference between allowing access to emergency vehicles and "Access to properties along The Gilgal" and keeping a lane open with a reduced speed limit and possibly re-routing larger vehicles along the diversions you already want to set up.

The last two questions are the dumb "What about the bus routes?" hmm disruption you think? And the pointless "Will you get the work done within the time you are stating?" how long is a piece of string?

If you want to discuss this with their "customer service mobile unit" they've provided a useful timetable of when and where they'll be around. Drawing on my vast psychic potential I foresee that these will be held on weekdays during normal business hours ommmmm.

Meh not far off they starting on Wednesday the 2nd September and running until the next Wednesday with, surprise, the weekend off. Because you know Stourport's just dead on a weekend. Times are 10am until 4pm except on Friday when they break up early at 2pm. But I am truly surprised because on Thursday and Monday they start at 1pm and finish at 8pm... but, but that's two whole hours that working folk might be able to see you; got to be a typo.

Also worth noting that this 'discussion' you can have takes place only a week before the work starts so does anyone believe that anything about this will alter the works being carried out in any shape or form?

Finally we get the pat text from those looking to screw us up as
Our Commitment and message to customers, residents and road users.
Damn they must really mean that Commitment to capitialise it like that. It's the same crap about how this is necessary and asking for our patience and how they're trying to keep disruption to a minimum.

But hey what else would I expect from our benevolent County Council.


Anonymous said...

I can understand you going into 'rant' mode as this will be a major pain; but as someone who works in construction (Thomas Vale), I think you are being a bit harsh.

The major work is presumably the ST water main. The press are continually bashing water companies about leaks and when they go about fixing the infrastructure it is bound to be disruptive.

If they they tried to keep a lane open I reckon it would take 4 times as long and cost twice as much. It will be difficult enough just keeping the frontagers access.

Local traffic will probably go via Wilden Lane to get back to the Hartlebury/Worcester Road island, so my route to work could be knackered. Think I will put in for a few weeks compassionate leave!


FlipC said...

Well thanks for the understanding ;-)

But the point you're making is similar to the one I'm trying to make. It's not that they can't keep a lane open it's that they won't. They're dressing it up as 'minimizing disruption' and "safety" but it's more to do with cost and hassle.

The simple fact that this was originally scheduled to be done during the Carnival just demonstrates how much consideration the powers that be show us. You could argue that they've heard us and pushed it back, but that shouldn't have been necessary in the first place. A simple query to the Town Council before the notice went in would have sorted that, but nope they obviously couldn't be bothered to check if this 5 week disruption would coincide with anything.

Anyway I'll go and have a [cough] debate with them on Monday 7th I think.

Lemone said...

I attended a meeting at Lickhill Community Hall on 27/7 which was actually for the traders in Stourport (obviously the general public don't count). The attitude was that it was going to happen so get used to it.It was put forward that Vale Road and Mitton Street be made 2 way and perhaps bring Severn Road into use to provide an alternative to the long diversion; lorries would be excluded. It would of course involve removing the traffic islands but that is no big problem that I can see bearing in mind the alternative chaos that we are looking at. There were comments from H & W and the contractors that lorries might come through anyway - an argument I have heard before with regard to the proposed closure of Mitton Street a couple of years ago and a totally stupid thing to say, what is the law for? Put someone at the roundabout to redirect them or narrow down the access at the Worcester Road roundabout. Anyway the chap from H & W said he would go away and look at it. The mayor, John Holden, was there and he said he was very hopeful that this solution would be implemented. I think we need some publicity on this (is the Shuttle the least bit interested?) Not only will Stourport residents be subjected to misery but Kidderminster would also be in a mess if all the traffic is being redirected through there; the Stourport/Kidderminster Road has tailbacks for most of its length at rush hour and have you tried getting out of either end of Wilden Lane at these times either? I think Bewdley will suffer too.
The people in the area need to be made aware of the catastrophe that is hanging over us.

FlipC said...

@Lemone - Well I've been waiting since the 27th for the Shuttle to report on the meeting with no success. I would have tried to attend, but hey would you look at that they held it while I was at work who'd have thunk it?

Sad to say the "lump it" attitude you describe doesn't surprise me in the slightest. After all someone originally scheduled this for carnival week, a faux pas that could have been avoided with a simple call to the Town Council. As my father said though "The County Council talk to other councils, not going to happen".

As for lorries coming through anyway I quote from the leaflet regarding emergency access -

"with police and our assistance"

which means they've said that someone will be around who at the same time should be able to prevent that.

Of course we both know if they'd been planning to do this to Kidderminster or Bewdley this'd be front-page placard-waving news; as it is I think we're lucky we got a front-page snippet and a third page article.

Anyway we'll see if they publish my letter, or at the least someone's letter.

Anonymous said...

I have only just been told about the roadworks today, and I live in Stourport someone from Hartlebury told me they had been informed by letter??

I have lived in Stourport for about ten years and feel like I have spent seven years trying to get out. There always appears to be roadworks somewhere. I work in Droitwich so have no option but to travel towards Kidderminster which will be more congested.

When will we get our relief road!!

lemone said...

This is the problem isn't it? - the people of Stourport just aren't aware of what's going to hit them. The council is playing this very close to its chest. Even the town councillors weren't informed properly. We need to make sure people know. I have just e-mailed the Shuttle asking them why they aren't reporting on it. Let you know if I get any response.

As for the relief road - well don't hold your breath. Perhaps Tesco could pay for it when they build their store which as I understand it will be accessed via Mitton Street - Oh joy even more traffic hold ups.

With regard to the emergency services; it was said at the meeting that when one of them needs to get through they will ring the contractors and I presume they will clear the road enough for them to crawl. So my advice is be very careful from September 18 because your chances of getting assistance is likely to be very much reduced and the already long journey to Worcester Hospital is likely to get a good longer

FlipC said...

The letter was written on the 3rd. For anyone who has yet to receive it here's a copy for their own amusement.

The original announcement was buried in the Public Notices section as I detailed here. It appears no-one at the Shuttle spotted this or thought it in any way newsworthy until traders caught wind of it and a meeting was set-up which Lemone visited.

As for our Relief Road it's a County decision so to put it bluntly we won't get one no matter what any prospective MPs or Councillors might suggest. Actually I tell a lie, we might get one but only via stealth - 'say you want to build a housing estate there, hmm sure so long as you make the road suitable to handle lots of traffic'; 'Major supermarket? Okay but we'll need the road extended along here'. Now all we need is some marine firm to come along and want to set up shop along the Severn so we can get a bridge built.

Unknown said...

Wasn't there a letter in last weeks Shuttle from a 'No roads at all campaigner' about the government finally saying the relief road will never be built.

damned if I can find it on the Shukkle site though.

FlipC said...

@Harriers9 - It was in the Shuttle last week, but appeared on the site a lot earlier. I had trouble finding it too as the headline on the site is different to the one used in the paper. The link is part of my entry on Gilgal Roadworks 3.