County Councillor Richard Davies has written a letter outlining the current situation with regards the two major roadworks currently ongoing in Grantham - Springfield Road and Belton Lane.
Coun Davies, who is responsible for roads, says Belton Lane is expected to be finished on Friday (Sept 6).
However, Springfield Road is now scheduled to take until September 27 following delays caused by a gas main which was found to be wrapped around fibre-optic cables.
Here is Mr Davies letter in full:
Following recent correspondence in the Journal I thought it maybe helpful to readers to have an update on the two major schemes for Grantham currently underway.
I have been the councillor responsible for roads since May. In that time I have tried to understand what we do well as a council, and what we do badly. I think we communicate poorly, so I’m working with the council’s officers to improve the way we publicise road works etc. I actually think we are pretty good at road works, though. We carry out work on hundreds of roads each week, and the vast majority of those are completed on-time, on-budget. Unfortunately we do drop the ball sometimes, and we can definitely improve, but I think you have to see the bigger picture of what we are doing.
I am very keen to improve our road network and the way the county council does business. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopefully you’ll see that the work on Springfield Road and Belton Lane lead to improvements for everyone. The old adage ‘you can’t make and omelette without breaking eggs’ could have been written about road works. In the long-term, we all benefit, even if there is some short-term pain.
***A52 London Rd/A607 Springfield Road Junction
Unfortunately we discovered a gas main that was wrapped around a fibre-optic cable - this wasn’t on any of the plans nor did any of the utility companies know about it. Only the National Grid (who look after the gas pipe network) could fix it.
We called their engineers out at the first opportunity but they did not turn up to fix the problem for several weeks, which delayed the rest of the project.
There is always risk involved with doing major road works like this, but factors beyond our control like utility pipes can be a big problem. This situation is unacceptable and I am lobbying government to force utility companies to respond to council requests much more quickly.
Having completed the gas main diversion, works commenced on 27th August diverting the BT cables and fibre optics. These works were complete on Thursday 29th August as planned.
The contractor, J Murphy & Sons, worked through the night on Thursday 29th August jointly with a Western Power crew to undertake preparatory works to allow them to undertake their diversionary works on the weekend of 31st August/1st September. This work was completed as planned. A special arrangement made between LCC, BT and Virgin Media allowed the Virgin Media diversionary works to be completed on 29th and 30th August, thus saving us approximately two days on the previously advised programme.
As of Monday 2nd September, works are now progressing backfilling the footways where Western Power have laid new cables. This work will also include completion of laying new traffic signal ducts and backfilling the hole outside Pizza Hut.
We will then be in a position to install the new kerb line and commence work on the wall outside Pizza hut on Monday 9th September.
Works then continue as per the programme but we are working with the contractor to compress this by the working of weekends and evenings as appropriate to reduce the delay on the scheme.
We currently expect the scheme to be complete by 27th September, a delay of three weeks.
This is however a saving of 2 weeks over the delay potentially caused by the stray gas main.
***Belton Lane Junction Improvement
Everything should be completed by this Friday (6th Sept).
The bad news – it should have been completed by Monday (2nd).
I apologise for this delay, there are reasons why it happened but I don’t want to try and excuse it. Quite frankly it’s not good enough and we will do better in the future.
Following the recent monthly progress meeting the Contractor (Kier) reported that the works on site were then a few days behind their original programme to re-open the junction fully before the schools returned from their summer break on Tuesday.
There had been some delays caused by statutory undertakers –Western Power Distribution [electricity] had a little additional work to join to their existing system due to inaccuracies with their plans; Virgin Media were late attending site by one week, but did complete their alterations within one day. National grid [gas] discovered that their medium pressure main also required lowering when excavation began on site, although this did only cause an additional half days work for the contractor.
It is anticipated that the junction will be re-opened on Friday with the signals fully operative, a delay of 4 days.
Some adjustment of the traffic signals will be necessary during the week or so following opening to optimise flows as is usual.