The A team

PUBLISHED: 12:48 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010

SIR, - I was very interested to read Cllr Roma Mills letter (Herts Advertiser, January 19) highlighting the problems that the residents of Nicholas Close, St Albans, are having with Herts Highways in their attempts to get their newly-installed street lig

SIR, - I was very interested to read Cllr Roma Mills letter (Herts Advertiser, January 19) highlighting the problems that the residents of Nicholas Close, St Albans, are having with Herts Highways in their attempts to get their newly-installed street lighting connected up. Well welcome to the club as over one year on we are still trying to get them to complete a so-called "six-week enhancement" contract that they started in October of 2004 along Batchwood Drive. In fairness to Herts Highways the contract did start on time but here on a major road the workforce for the majority of it consisted of two men complete with wheelbarrow, pick and shovel etc - except for when the work was carried out on the refuges and the two magnificent bus stops when additional labour and machinery was employed. They worked on and off for 12 weeks which was of course double the original estimate and I presume double the wage bill, and then disappeared never to return. They didn't even finish their own snagging - boy did we get the "A" team. According to the letter the residents of Batchwood originally received from Herts Highways in July of 2004, among other things, and I quote: "The on-street parking bays are to be extended to provide more parking for residents". What in fact we got was one bay done. We were told that due to "technical difficulties", the others couldn't be done. So much for the survey and planning! Verge protection bollards were never completed and the promised repair to existing verges to remove vehicle damage also never took place. The bus stops on the north side of the road went from originally being half a dozen slabs and a pole at each stop to the magnificent things they are now capable of holding about 30 people. Sadly they are very much underused purely because people, many of them elderly, feel unable to cross the road in safety to access them. There are so-called refuges in the middle but because of the speed and volume of traffic, it is often a case of your life in your hands trying to get to them, and once in the middle of the road you have exactly the same problem trying to cross the other bit. The good news is that they do have lighting columns on them which are on day and night, summer and winter. To again quote from Herts Highways original letter: "These refuges will incorporate traffic-calming measures to reduce the speed of traffic along Batchwood Drive". Well guess what - surprise, surprise they don't work. These bus stops plus the new one that was built in Waverley Road about two years ago remain unlit making them potentially dangerous on early winter mornings and evenings, particularly for women on their own or schoolchildren making their way to and from school. It also leaves them open to vandalism on a regular basis. All in all yet another quality job from Herts Highways which of course is what we have come to expect from them, and no doubt our up-and-coming council tax bill will increase still further to cover these failings. It appears to be such a Mickey Mouse organisation that it is a wonder the Walt Disney company isn't involved. It certainly couldn't cost anymore! JIM RUSHBY, Batchwood Drive, St Albans.

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