Posts Tagged ‘diversion’

Traffic diversion through Much Wenlock

We’ve seen some disruption this year on Much Wenlock’s roads, mostly because of resurfacing. The overwhelming majority of local residents are tolerant of delays, noise and dirt which are the inevitable consequence of highways improvements and maintenance. Occasionally we have to bear additional diverted traffic because of roadworks elsewhere – such as when the B4380 Buildwas-Atcham road was being resurfaced a couple of years ago.

This summer there are plans that bring a rather more substantial diversion our way. The A49 at Onibury, between Ludlow and Craven Arms, is to be closed so that Network Rail can carry out essential work at the level crossing. The proposed diversion is from Ludlow to Kidderminster, then to Bridgnorth and on to Shrewsbury (and, for southbound traffic, the reverse). This inevitably means the diverted traffic driving through Much Wenlock.image6Given that the A49 is a trunk road, it is understandable that the diversion should be on roads capable of taking large volumes of heavy traffic. For the most part, the diversion route can accommodate this extra load for ten days although, given that it’s an additional 50 miles on the journey, I suspect that some drivers will try to find a short-cut. 
image1 (21)My principal concern, so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, is the narrow stretch of the A458 between the B4378 Bourton Road junction and the B4371 Stretton Road junction. Victoria Road is a pinch point, bounded by old limestone walls on both sides. The wall supporting the elevated footway is frequently struck by vehicles and evidence of the impacts is there for all to see – shards of stone and mortar on the road. For much of this 400 yard stretch, this footway is the only pedestrian route. image4 (2)Residents of Victoria Road and of Stretton Road, comprising some 70 properties, who walk into Much Wenlock already have to negotiate traffic approaching around blind bends, sometime at speeds in excess of the permitted limit. The only way to cross over is via a central refuge in Victoria Road. Of course visitors to our local campsites will have to use this route as well when heading into the town for a meal or drink, or to take in the sights.image5Adding considerably more traffic, day and night, will increase the risks for local pedestrians and visitors to our town this summer. These photographs were taken in the space of five minutes mid-morning today. The morning and evening rush-hour sees far more traffic.image2 (8)-001Vehicles heading in both directions will have to negotiate Wenlock Edge. Heading from Shrewsbury, this an especially challenging incline for heavy vehicles and those towing trailer and caravans. An increase in the volume of traffic will see more instances of hill starts when traffic has come to a halt. And this brings me to another concern.

Driving from Cressage toward Much Wenlock along the A458, it is possible to see if the traffic is at a halt at the bottom of the incline from a long distance. If it is, the temptation is to turn off at Wig Wig and try to get ahead of the blockage. This single-track lane is unsuitable for more than the occasional car or tractor and certainly hazardous for a large vehicle which would have to negotiate the ford and the tight bends. Any use of this as a cut-through would be a major inconvenience to the local residents and an added frustration for drivers who shouldn’t be using the route.homer wigwigI’ve aired my concerns with the hard-pressed highways team who have to juggle essential maintenance by Network Rail, the Highways Agency and our own Shropshire Council Highways department, along with the various electricity, water, gas and telephone undertakings. They understand my concerns – and mine aren’t the only ones. As a result, a meeting is being arranged to re-examine all of the options and consider what traffic management measures might ease the load for local residents and for all motorists. I’m hoping that, by bringing all parties together, we can look forward to a less congested Victoria Road than might otherwise be the case.image1 (20)

Roadworks – mostly good news

I’m pleased that there’s further work being undertaken on our roads locally in response to my representations. The top part of Oakfield Park will be resurfaced between 4th to 22nd July with the improvements also extending to the footways. There will be a letter drop to local residents giving more detail, and arrangements for refuse collections etc.

From 4th – 6th July King Street will be closed for a drainage investigation and pipe replacement.

There will also be roadworks on the A4169 The Crescent and Sheinton Street in Much Wenlock from 27th July to 21st August. This is to install permanent two-way traffic signals to address problems in the narrow part of the road which happen when large vehicles meet. The consultation event on 15th January resulted in some minor changes being made to the proposals and, overall, the response from local residents was very positive. Although deliberately scheduled for the school holidays to reduce inconvenience, these works will cause considerable disruption, so please allow more time for your journeys.

Looking further ahead, the third and final section of Merrywell Lane is scheduled for completion 26th July to 5th August. The Row will be closed at Easthope 29th August to 6th September for much-needed resurfacing.

As always, the timing of these works is subject to change, so look out the latest information in the press and on notice boards locally.

roadworks

All of the above works are being carried out on behalf of Shropshire Council.

Of course, other bodies excavate our roads to access their equipment etc., and it doesn’t always go according to plan. One such event was a couple of weeks ago on Sunday 22nd May when Severn Trent Water closed Much Wenlock High Street (with permission for one day), but didn’t complete the work. If they’d worked a full day it would have helped! They had to come back on the Monday morning to complete the work and open the road. This involved breaches of their works permit and the road closure order, and Shropshire Council has taken Severn Trent Water to task for this disruption.

Roadworks in Sheinton Street

As I predicted a few weeks ago, the A4169 Sheinton Street, near Station Road, had to be closed for urgent sewer replacement works. These were completed and a manhole constructed so that future access may be easier. Despite careful planning, there was criticism of the diversion arrangements and I am holding a meeting shortly to see what lessons can be learnt.

You may recall that the gas main replacement works on the Broseley-Bridgnorth B4373 overran by some weeks last year. The compensation paid by National Grid Gas will fund a number of highways improvements in the areas affected. For Much Wenlock, this will benefit Merrywell Lane where I anticipate some 300 yards or so of the road will be completely overhauled during the school holidays this summer. Please watch out for further news.

Roadworks postponed

The A458 Harley Bank road closure scheduled for 24th March was postponed at very short notice for contractual reasons.

The signage element of the scheme was as a result of the fatal road accident which occurred in 2012. The signage works are still to be carried out this spring, using temporary traffic signals.

I have impressed upon the highways engineers that the remaining road surfacing works should be organised after the summer period. This is because of the disruption caused by a closure of the A458, and the impact that it may have on the local economy.

Meanwhile, the A4169 Sheinton Street, near Station Road, may have to be closed in the coming weeks for urgent sewer replacement works. Unfortunately the date has yet to be determined, so watch out for advisory signs.

David Turner


Woodhouse Farm
Wyke
Much Wenlock
TF13 6NZ

01952 728802

david.turner@shropshire.gov.uk
Shropshire Council
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The views expressed on this website are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Conservative Councillors' Association or the Conservative Party.