Thu, 16 Jan 2020
WEST Berkshire Council has been forced to abandon its plan to widen Newbury’s Hambridge Road - because it cannot be widened.
Work began last week on a project to widen Hambridge Road from Two Rivers Way to create a longer left turn lane on to the A4.
However, when contractors dug up the pavement, they found that utility companies had laid ducting and cables just below the surface.
The council has laid the blame on the provider, saying it was “solely their fault”.
West Berkshire Council spokeswoman Mandip Bilkhu said: “Sadly, due to these utility ducts being close to the surface, some containing high-risk infrastructure, regrettably we have had to abandon the carriageway widening in this area.
“Whilst the left turn lane can no longer be extended, the remaining new road layout will still be implemented as shown on the scheme drawing.”
The council said it had contacted all utility providers with infrastructure in the area ahead of the project.
Arrangements were made to relocate telecommunication ducting which was known to be too high.
The council said it was aware of the approximate location of an electric service within the footway, but the cable was laid too high in the footway.
The council said: “If the electric service was laid at the appropriate depth, then the scheme would have proceeded as planned, but the time and cost associated with relocating this service was far too high. Solely the fault of the utility provider.”
The ‘A4 Hambridge Road and Lower Way Improvements’ project was set to last for six months, with the road widening meant to take three weeks.
The council said that the cost of the scheme had been reduced, but as more unforeseen elements could arise, it was too early to say whether the end date would change.
The abandonment of the road widening precedes a 10 hours overnight closure of the A4 on Monday, January 27.
The next phase of the scheme will result in all traffic lights at the A4 Hambridge Road and Fir Tree Lane junction being replaced.
The council said that a temporary traffic light system would be in place and the temporary signals would remain in place for a few weeks to prepare and install the new lights.
“In order to safely undertake certain aspects of the works described and to protect the public and the contractor, a road closure is required,” the council said.
“Due to the high volume of vehicle movements using this junction during the day these works will be undertaken overnight.”
The A4 will be closed between the B&Q roundabout and the Turnpike Road and Tull Way roundabout from 7pm on Monday, January 27, until 5am on Tuesday, January 28.
Access from the A4 to Hambridge Road and its adjoining roads, as well as Fir Tree Lane, Lower Way and Dorneywood Way, will be affected.
The council said the road might need to be closed overnight on January 28 into January 29 if the work was not completed on January 27.
In a letter to residents, the local authority asked businesses accessed from the A4 expecting deliveries to make every effort to alter delivery times outside of the closure period.
The council added that access to residential properties within the closure area will be permitted at all times, but there may be periods where access would be delayed.
For more information, call the council’s customer services team on (01635) 519080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org