Roadworks planned by Hampshire County Council in Whitchurch Town Square have once again been delayed and confusion reigns as to why.
Road signs had been put up stating works were to commence on Monday 29th October and letters had been delivered to nearby property owners. However the large yellow signs suddenly mysteriously vanished, almost as fast as they had appeared.
Questions were put to Hampshire County Council to discover why they had disappeared. On the Friday afternoon (26th October), just days before the works were to commence, Hampshire’s call centre declined a request to put a call through to the engineers and stated that the work was still on the programme.
But the works did not commence.
On Wednesday 31st October HCC responded with the following:
The works were originally programmed to start on 29th October 2018 and be undertaken using temporary traffic signals between the hours of 20:00 – 06:00hrs for approximately 10 days.
However, following a site meeting with the Contractor, concerns were raised that temporary traffic signals alone would be insufficient to provide the necessary safe working area to complete the works, and road closures on Winchester Street and Church Street will now be required.
The process of applying for and advertising road closures takes several weeks, and would result in works being carried out in December. To avoid this busy time of year on the build up to Christmas we have decided to re-programme the works in the new year. As soon as dates have been confirmed I will be in touch to let you know.
They also Tweeted:
…the works were originally programmed to be carried out using temporary traffic signals only and this method of traffic management does not require a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order to be in place.
There is now even more confusion.
Documents show that Hampshire HAD believed an Order was necessary and and one HAD been published, so it begs the question:
A Traffic Order was published for this work in March 2017 that allowed closure of all the roads leading into the Square for up to two weeks each.
This Order (which would have been costly to make) had a validity of 18 months, so the question must now be asked – has the most recent delay been caused because the works had been previously delayed so long by HCC that they had overrun the validity of their original Traffic Order?
Are there now extra publicly funded costs being involved in obtaining yet another Traffic Order due to these delays?
Our guess is your guess.