They, the County Council, that is, have just finished off a job they started some time ago. That was when they began resurfacing the B1049 heading southwards from Histon Green and then ran out of money as they crested the bridge over the Busway. That’s meant that the stretch of road between the Busway bridge and the A14 roundabout has been in rather bad shape so it was good news that the Government threw some money at the Council and said spend it before the end of the financial year.
It’s a crazy system of course. Firstly you begin a job knowing you don’t have enough money to finish it. And then you get given money with instructions to spend it quickly. Neither is conducive to sensible asset management which is what is needed if you’re going to look after our roads which need routine repair and maintenance.
However let’s not be churlish. The job’s been done, it took a just four nights of night work so there was no disruption to daytime traffic, and the contractors seem to have done rather a fine job.
However there were night works and some people inevitably got disturbed and complained. Was this justified?
First the night works issue (with a complete road closure). It avoided the disruption you get when there are day time works so that probably was the right decision. Some people questioned the decision to close both sides of the road but that would not have had a material effect on the noise and would have doubled the time needed for the work.
And second is it fair to the people who were disturbed by the noise? Probably not but what’s the alternative? I don’t live close to the works site so I can’t imagine how noisy and unpleasant life must have been for the duration of the works so it’s difficult to say that lots of people will have significant long term benefit from this work, a few people had 4 night’s disturbance.
Given this what could be done/have been done to enable the affected residents to somehow manage their lives for the duration of the works and /or to mitigate the impact of the works on them.
To be fair CCC did send a letter (click here to view a copy) out in good time and the Parish Council did post information on its web-site which was quickly broadcast on social media. Perhaps it could have been a little more specific about the way the works would have been carried out and about the use of Cambridge Road as a marshalling area for its vehicles.
The big question for me though is ‘were contractors Jackson Civils fully onboard’? There’s some evidence that they did not understand that residents were to be allowed access and you also worry that in their desire to crack on they are not as diligent as they might have been to minimise vehicle noise. It would be useful to know whether or not there’s a start of job briefing and if so what goes into it.
Early on the week I responded to residents’ annoyance and we got some action. Subsequently I have spoken to the Council’s Officers and we have agreed to see what we can learn from the experience and how we can improve.
(BTW this is as nothing compared to the A14 works where, despite every top management assurance that noise associated with night works is being carefully controlled it is still horrendous and makes life a misery for those living close to it)