Anger at unfinished roadworks

PUBLISHED: 11:47 09 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:08 06 May 2010

LONG-awaited resurfacing of the badly-potholed but busy section of St Albans ring road has been branded a disappointment this week because a large stretch has been left untouched. Herts Highways originally proposed to resurface the entire length of Batch

LONG-awaited resurfacing of the badly-potholed but busy section of St Albans ring road has been branded a disappointment this week because a large stretch has been left untouched.

Herts Highways originally proposed to resurface the entire length of Batchwood Drive but the workmen packed up last week without resurfacing the majority of the section between the Redbourn Road and Waverley Road junctions.

Work has been taking place on and off for the last six weeks and during the road closures traffic has been diverted through the city centre with long delays and jams.

The road, which provides the access to two schools, was initially closed at the beginning of March but work was cut short after two weeks when the equipment was needed for a project in Watford delayed due to bad weather.

Although Herts Highways initially claimed work could not be carried out in the school holidays, work recommenced on Monday last week, with a week still remaining of the school's Easter break.

Labour prospective Parliamentary candidate and district councillor Roma Mills has written to Herts Highways expressing the anger of local residents who were expecting the untouched stretch of road to be resurfaced as part of Phase 5 of the work.

She said: "People are asking why the whole length of the road was not resurfaced. Instead of a smart resurfaced road surface, the last stretch of road up to the Redbourn roundabout has been bodged with a series of tarmac patches. It's just a mess."

Lib Dem prospective Parliamentary candidate Sandy Walkington said that the traffic chaos the work provoked could have been considerably lessened with a bit more thought from Herts Highways.

He argued that the diversion signage was "wholly inadequate" and did not provide any information about which parallel roads were closed.

For example, he noticed a stream of cars pouring down Ladies Grove trying to find a way around the work only for the drivers to find at the end of the road, the Downedge junction with Batchwood Drive, closed.

He said: "So they had to make laborious three-point turns to go back against the still oncoming flow just because no signage had been put at the entrance to Ladies Grove. It looked like the Brighton Pier dodgems."

He added: "Our highway infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes. Pressure from traffic continues to grow with development. In the meantime, the patchwork of apparently-random and wholly-inadequate pothole patching continues to blight our city."

A spokesperson for Herts Highways said the unfinished section of road would be treated with a surface dressing material which could only be done in the summer.

Regarding the issues of signage, he said that Ladies Grove was not part of the diversion route and because it was not closed Herts Highways were not legally entitled to put up signs discouraging its use.

He said: "While we aim to make the signage as comprehensive as possible during roadworks, it is impossible to anticipate every possible eventuality on individual journeys and there is a danger in over-signing which can cause conflict and confusion. In this case, anyone following the official signs should not have experienced any problems."

He added that the diversion route through the city centre and along Folly Lane was agreed with highway safety officers and the police.

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