Roadworks causing traffic miseryBy Nick Edmondson
September 27, 2012
ROADWORKS to upgrade an Aldershot town centre water main are causing a nightmare for residents as heavy goods vehicles ignore diversions and attempt to navigate residential streets.
People living in the Ash Road area have seen their streets clogged with traffic, as well as unsuitably large vehicles, which they claim could be dangerous for pedestrians. Others have seen speeding motorists use their road as a rat run to evade traffic. Complaints have been raised that there are very few workers on the site, with the disturbances expected to last for six months.
The fallout from South East Water’s £249,000 work to replace the 80-year-old main on Ash Road also had businesses up in arms, as they warn of the impact on their trade.
The work, which began at the start of September, will see 840 metres of pipe replaced along the road following repeated bursts.
However Cenk Sahin, who runs the Astalet Cafe in Ash Road and has the works on his doorstep, has complained about the number of people working on the site.
“This work is having a serious impact on my business and that of the companies around me. There are just a lot less pedestrians on the road,” he said.
“I understand the work is necessary and I am not arguing they should not do it, but there are simply not enough people working on the site.
“Because I have so little business I can look outside a lot and there are generally about three or four people on the site. They are not exactly working quickly. When you see how slowly this is happening it is not a surprise that it will take six months.”
Roger Speak, of Church Lane East, claimed he regularly saw HGVs navigating some of the smaller roads in defiance of signage telling them to avoid the area.
He said: “The county council just hasn’t done enough to point the drivers in the right direction. It’s so dangerous, you see huge vehicles almost getting stuck all over the place.
“In the morning and at around 3:30pm, when the children are leaving St Michael’s School, the roads in the area are an absolute car park.
“It’s worth worrying about children on pavements when you have a 44 tonne vehicle trying to swing around the junction between Church Lane East and Church Hill.”
Jane Wilson, of Christmas Avenue, warned that diverted traffic was becoming dangerous.
She said: “They come round the bend going so fast it was scary. I am worried that the children that walk down this road to get to Ash Manor and Connaught School will be in danger of the fast and many cars using this small road.”
A South East Water spokesman apologised for the inconvenience and admitted there only four workers on site at any one time, but argued that more staff would not speed up the work.
They said: “If we wanted to increase the number of contractors on site this would require a larger working area which would have knock on effects with diversion routes and inconvenience to the local community.
“We are aware there have been some motorists and HGV drivers who have been ignoring the official diversion route and we continue to urge those motorists to follow the official routes for not only their safety, but the safety of the public too.
“The diversion route has been agreed in conjunction with Hampshire Highways and we are continually reviewing the diversion routes and traffic management to ensure they are appropriate.
“As a result of one of these reviews further traffic management measures, which have been agreed with Hampshire Highways, are being implemented on the diversion routes to reduce the speed of the traffic.”