As many people are aware Watery Lane (or rather Beeches Road which Watery Lane runs into) is to be closed for up to 12 weeks for bridge strengthening.
I have been talking with Essex Highways on this, pointing out the problems we all faced last year and earlier this year, when Watery Lane was closed for a number of days due to flooding, with the large tailbacks and delays we faced getting out of Hullbridge as well as the problems caused to local businesses.
My main concerns have been with the expected traffic problems and any mitigation that Essex Highways can put in place. In addition I am very worried that they are choosing to do the work now rather than at the beginning of July when the roads are quieter. I believe that Hullbridge Road and Rawreth Lane will become overloaded with traffic causing lengthy delays and the following problems.
- Pupils will be late to Sweyne Park (and they will be having exams during this period)
- People will be late to work
- Doctors and Hospital appointments will be missed
- Local businesses will suffer as drivers find alternative routes
Essex Highways have assured me that they will monitor traffic and will put in mitigating measures should the traffic becomes to heavy, but I have seen no plans for how this would be done and to what effect beyond a few statements about altering the traffic light phases. Effectively Essex Highways are ignoring me and ploughing on with the scheme having failed to asses the impact of closure.
To make things worse I have today received an email confirming that, after this 12 week closure, the road will be closed again for a further 10 weeks from the 6 January 2014 to repair another bridge. I find this totally unacceptable, Watery Lane will be closed for pretty much half a year causing chaos to this part of Essex and Essex Highways have failed to consider the implications to local residents or to consult with us.
Obviously I am not at all happy with this and I have requested a meeting with the Cabinet member for Highways and the Director of Essex Highways to sort this out as a matter of urgency. I will keep you advised.