Monday, October 26, 2015

Bruce Street Bungle

Have the roadworks at Bruce Street Bridges become a textbook example of how not to do a medium-scale road project.

Yes, and there's lots of evidence to support it.

Swindoncentric has reason to traverser the Bruce Street Bridges nearly every day, often multiple times and at differing times of traffic levels. The Work, on paper sounds pretty straightforward, the removal of the four mini roundabouts and the construction of one main roundabout, with associated pedestrian access. The road has to remain open as the work happens. Difficult? Certainly. Impossible? Not at all.

Delays have been so bad that Thamesdown Transport have had to divert their cross-town services 13 and 14 at some times to avoid crossing Bruce Street bridges from Rodbourne Cheney to Rodbourne (instead diverting along Great Western Way) and have also, in the medium term, altered the 13 and 14 routes to go via Shepperd Street and Station Road rather than the preferred Farnsby Street/Commercial Road and Regent Circus route. The unpredictability of delays caused by the work at Bruce Street Bridges means the timetable is not robust to continue on the Regent Circus route until the work is completed.

Paving or kerb work that had been laid several weeks ago in the morning was witnessed being taken up later that day by the contractors on site. For such an important project, there does not seem to be a large number of contractors on site when you pass by. A report to Swindoncentric was that 5 contractors left the site recently over frustrations of the management of the work they were doing.

Meanwhile, the work was schedule to finish 'October 2015', so there are a few days left to live in hope. Though it will overrun, until March it is believed. Businesses who have the work happening on their doorsteps were given short shrift by Councillor Heenan in last week's Adver when they dared to ask for compensation.

The ticking bomb is exactly how the effect of the closure of Stratton Green Bridge in a few weeks by Network Rail will add to the problems caused to traffic by Bruce Street Bridges. Councillor Heenan assures us that it will be ticketty-boo, so that's alright then. Councillor Heenan also said one of the reasons for the delays had been the amount of unexpected pipes and cables beneath the Bruce Street Bridges site. That seems to be par-for-the-course on most work sites, so it's baffling why this wasn't factored in by even the most basic risk analysis.

It'll be interesting to see a breakdown of the predicted costs of the work and the actual costs of the work afterwards to compare. But we'll have to wait for the work to finish first before that can be done.

And that will be....?

Swindoncentric looks forward to more innovative and vibrant ways that the rest of Great Western Way will be changed and resurfaced in the near future.

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