Category Archives: Highways

Road Closure in Baylham

 

Just to warn those of you who visit relatives or friends in Baylham, the main way in to the village will be closed for seven weeks from Monday. The Care Centre is connecting its dysfunctional sewage system to the village drains by putting a pipe in a trench up the road.

They won’t use any of the shorter routes across the fields or round the field boundary. The contractor is using “traditional” methods, not fast trenching machines, so seven weeks not two. Thanks guys!

Highways of course just agreed-like in Barham, Claydon and at Hackneys Corner. Trying to get them to look after the residents is up hill all the way. The diversion routes are through Little Blakenham or along Circular Road (Back Street) from B1113. Both 4.3km with few passing places.

We are asking people to come in via Back Street and out via Little Blakenham but not all will do that, its not official, please be careful. Highways have promised to try to grit the road if it’s necessary.
The Care Home is still accessible from the B1113

 

Question I Just Received on Highway Signs.

For several years it has concerned me, and many others I speak to, that trees, hedges and general dirt are being allowed to obscure road signs.  A while ago I searched for any rules that may apply as directed by the Department For Transport and found the attached from the Traffic Signs Manual (1982 Amended 2004).  I would bring your attention in particular to 1. Introductory, paragraph 1.2 and 5. The Design & Use of Signs, paragraph 1.31 (b) and 9. Maintenance of Signs.  All common sense, you would think?

Quite obviously these conditions are not being met.  For example: the road sign coming up to the Hadleigh Road mini roundabout at Sproughton from the Washbrook direction.  It is so obscured by the hedge that you cannot read the sign until you’re virtually next to it and nearly at the roundabout!!  Similarly, now the leaves are coming out on trees, other signs are disappearing behind them.  I cannot believe that this problem is not the subject of more of an outcry as with the pot hole debacle.  Being unable to read road signs from a safe distance is as dangerous as having to be more vigilant in avoiding potholes.

My Answer

Suffolk Highways needs to meet its obligations under these rules which are made for good reason.  I think you will have seen from my leaflets and “In Touch” contributions that I have been active in pressing for improved performance across the board although the key focus has been potholes .

I believe that the outsourcing of the highways contract has not worked and, despite the Conservatives rolling it on for another five years, it must either perform in short order or the work must be taken back in-house.  Suffolk people just can’t continue to put up with the issues you raise or the potholes.

We must have the management talent to guide the workforce to high performance.   As the government has been giving some relatively small but significant grants for such work and we could use a sensible amount, £2 million, from the £150 million reserves to make one-off improvements.  We should be able to do better!

You will get this if you ensure there is a strong opposition after Thursday to make sure that the mantra that everything must be privatised does not result in self-deception about the level of performance achieved.

 

John Field

Park and Ride passengers plummet

We Lib Dems today revealed that the Park and Ride service has seen a huge fall in passenger numbers since the Bury Road site was closed at the beginning of 2011.

The County originally predicted that when they closed the Bury Road site around half of the passengers would transfer to either London Road or Martlesham. Prior to the closure at the beginning of 2011, a total of 1,000,000 passengers were using one of the three services every year. There were 300,000 passengers using the Bury Road site in the final year of its operation. The total number of passengers has now dropped to 500,000 per year.

In 2011, not only did the Conservatives close the Bury Road Park and Ride site, but they introduced a charge for over 60s, and made them wait until 9.30am before they could use their bus passesThe Ipswich Park and Ride service was introduced when we ran the council in coalition with Labour. It has always been highly valued, but the Conservatives seem determined to destroy it.

We fought a campaign to keep the Bury Road site open. We carried out a survey of passengers, organised a petition and made the Cabinet reconsider its decision. They would not change their minds and they failed to look at the full implications of the closure. This dramatic fall in passenger numbers has major implications for Ipswich. We have no way of measuring how many people now drive into Ipswich, or avoid it altogether. In this difficult economic climate, and with the advent of online shopping, town centres need all the help they can get.”

In detail, figures for the London Road and Martlesham Park and Ride sites are:

Total passengers 03 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 – 557,665

Total passengers 04 April 2010 to 02 April 2011 – 749,176

Total passengers 05 April 2009 to 03 April 2010 – 769,666

The figures also include those travelling on concessionary passes which gave free travel until 1 April 2011 & half price travel after this date.

Bury Road was still operational until January 2011. Its all tickets breakdown was:

For 2007/08   192,000

For 2008/09   245,000

For 2009/10   306,000

This meant that in the year 2009 – 2010, there were a total of 1,075,666 users of the Park and Ride service in Ipswich

Highways Procurement

You will recall that in previous Parish Reports I stated that the County Council had agreed a contract with Balfour Beatty to provide the highways services across Suffolk but that there had been a last minute problem.  The County Council has now provided an update.

 “In December 2012, Suffolk County Council announced Balfour Beatty Living Places as the Preferred Bidder for the contract to maintain and improve Suffolk’s highways from 1st April 2013.

Following a period of extensive and constructive discussion with Balfour Beatty Living Places, Suffolk County Council has not been able to confirm and clarify commitments made to the point where it can provisionally award the contract. It has therefore been decided that the procurement process will revert to the previous stage where Suffolk County Council can liaise with any, or all, of the bidders who submitted final tenders (including Balfour Beatty Living Places), before again identifying a preferred bidder.

This does not affect the county council’s ambition to identify a private sector company that will be responsible for the design and implementation of highway maintenance and improvement works, winter gritting, street lighting, traffic signals and bridge works throughout the county.

A key objective to achieve £2 million of recurring revenue savings in year 2013/14, helping the council’s transport department to achieve efficiency savings of 1.5% per year remains in place.”

Highways

The final agreement to outsource highways services to Balfour Beatty  in a £200m contract lasting five years was made at cabinet.   The company was to be responsible for the design and implementation of highways maintenance and improvement works, winter gritting, street lighting, traffic signals and bridge work throughout the county.  However they have pulled out at the last minute for reasons that are far from clear but which I believe relate to additional risk associated with the transfer of staff.
 
We had been assured that some £2 million would be saved per year and that the level of service would be maintained.  This must now be at risk although the County view is that they are essentially returning to an earlier stage in the negotiations and the overall projectr is not compromised.

It is important that whatever changes occur you continue to enjoy high standards of routine maintenance, a rapid response to problems and winter gritting that keeps the county moving. When councilors need to intervene we will still hope to get rapid action.

Road Safety

Road Safety is always an issue but my “Quality of Life” road improvement budget is very limited.  However this year we have surfaced Cock Lane and placed “no parking” markings to make it easier to exit the St John’s Ambulance premises in Bramford.  We will be installing “Halo” rings round the heads of the Belisha Beacons at the “Co-Op” zebra crossing in Claydon to make it more visible.

The most important work will be at Pound Lane on the B1113 where there have been several serious accidents. I hope to see road markings to make the location of the junction more obvious, the speed limit reduced to 40mph and the bus stops moved away from the junction.  Until that happens, I have asked the police, via the Chief Constable, to enforce the present limit.

If you would like to see the details click on  Pound Lane proposals to download the plan

Cock Alley to Gippingstone Road

County Highways are at long last constructing a footway to link Cock Alley to Gippingstone Road to allow parents to use the path to get to the school without getting muddy. The work will start on the 23rd July and take approximately a week. 

I was asked for this by the team that look at safe travel to school some years ago but it has been an uphill struggle to get the land transferred from Mid Suffolk District Council.

The county say that noise and dust will be kept to a minimum and the work should not affect vehicles and pedestrian access. 

The footway will be constructed along the right side of the left hedge above and will be two metres wide leading to the existing footway  

 If you have any specific requirements, such as disability access, or deliveries planned for this date, please contact the contractor, Suffolk Highways Contracting 01473 588640.

If you have any queries about these works, contact (0845 606 6171) and ask to speak to Aaron Gordon

Road improvements

Money is allocated to each district in Suffolk to be used to improve road problems that effect residents quality of life.  In Mid Suffolk some £150k was divided between a common sum of £59k and ten county councillors at £10k each.  That sounds a lot but road improvements cost a lot.  This year we will have less due to the state of the economy.  I have used my last year’s budget as follows but please let me know what should get priority this year.

Footpath from Gippingstone Road to rear of Bramford Primary

The district council has quoted approximately £6,000 for the easement to allow the County to surface the path past Cherryfields to the rear of Bramford Primary School.  The total cost now exceeds the available funding by a considerable amount so I have asked for the MSDC charges to be re-assessed. 

Lighting for the Bus  Shelter that serves Hill View Business park

The bus shelter on the Old Norwich Road is in a very dark spot and worries the employees at the park and the people at Growing Places.  I have asked for a street light to be installed and now that we have found where the power feeds are it will be completed soon.

Speeding

One of the vehicle activated signs, the one in Barham, will be funded from this budget.

Reduction of Anti Social Speeding in Villages

Our project to settle the debate on the most effective way of reducing anti – social speeding is progressing well. 

Six vehicle activated electronic signs are now on order together with two additional speed guns and two new speed signs of the “Sid” type for the police. 

After examining the first crop of speed records from villages, the team decided to change allocations.  Bramford will have enhanced police enforcement activity.  Somersham, Gt Blakenham, Barham and Claydon will have one electronic sign each and Henley two signs due to  the high speeds past the school and approaching the busy blind junction in the village centre.

This is, in our view the best allocation based on present data but is not set in stone and may well be adjusted as the project progresses.