Residents and businesses in Purley don’t know whether to laugh or cry as, after stoically enduring nine weeks of covid-19 lockdown, they are now bracing themselves for a two-month closure of a major arterial road.
Locals have found out almost by accident, with less than a week’s notice, about the proposed closure of the A22, the Godstone Road, from the Purley Tesco car park as far as Dale Road, a distance of about a quarter of a mile.
The road is due to be closed to traffic from Monday, May 18, to allow SES Water to carry out water mains maintenance.
The recommended diversions involve driving up to Caterham on the Hill and down into Coulsdon or M25 as far as Junction 7.
But the first hint of any disruption came when a notice was posted on the Surrey County Council website on Tuesday this week, less than seven days before the closure is due to begin.
A check by Inside Croydon today confirmed that there are no road signs along the route to forewarn motorists and other road users, while none of the businesses based along the stretch of road had been informed by SES, Surrey or Croydon councils.
According to Surrey CC: “The utility company SES Water are investing in an important water mains renewal project in the Purley area to secure safe and reliable drinking water for over 27,000 homes and businesses.
“SES Water plan to start works week commencing 18 May 2020 and be finished during approximately July 2020.
“Their contractor, J Murphy and Sons, will be on-site working 24 hours a day when possible. However, these hours may vary depending on weather conditions, daylight, staff availability and any further coronavirus related Government advice.
“Road closures will be in place whilst works are carried out along A22 Godstone Road between the entrance of the Tesco store at Purley Road and Dale Road. The closures will be in place in sections 24 hours a day. Access to property driveways within a closed section will be maintained throughout the works.”
The SES website confirms this, and the start date of Monday.
Yet while the contractors, the local police and Croydon Council appear to expect the works to start next week, SES has today issued an email to one resident that appears to contradict that.
“We are currently working with multiple agencies to agree a start date” for the works, they wrote, adding that, “As soon as we have agreed a start date, we will publish this as well as details of what the work will involve on our website… contacting local stakeholders ad writing to customers in the area.”
“What a shambles,” one bemused local business-owner told Inside Croydon.
A check along the Godstone Road from Tesco’s as far as the roundabout at Whyteleafe confirmed that no notices have been placed at the roadside announcing the impending closure or the diversions – which, as it will involve some of the traffic heading for the supermarket, is liable to cause traffic chaos.
Businesses on the stretch of road who will be cut off from their customers for the duration of the closure, whenever it begins, include Cornell and Varley, Newsflash, Re-Cycles, AllBikes and a Shell petrol station. Not one of them had been consulted.
“This is right outside our business and neither we nor any of the other businesses affected have had no consultation or communication,” Sara Aliano of AllBikes told Inside Croydon.
“These are not emergency works, so we are baffled by lack of information. Nothing on Croydon Council website or TfL. We’ve made enquiries today seeking confirmation that we will have safe access to our premises, but have to await a response.
“With less than a week until work commences we feel this has been very badly handled and will have a detrimental effect on our business, which has already been hit hard after being forced to be closed for two months because of coronavirus.
“This is a major road closure at a major junction, yet there are no advanced warning signs in the vicinity.”
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As per the article I cannot find any reference to these works on the TfL or Croydon websites either. This together with a lack of site notices leads me to think that procedures may not have been followed and the works would be in breach of traffic legislation. I’d be interested to hear both authorities response to that.
Dale Road is a crescent so intersects with Godstone Road at two points (the church end, and the end where Boris was seen wading a few years ago…) – does anyone know which entrance it’s up to? For example, when travelling northbound on Godstone, will it be possible to use the junction of Warren Road and Downs Court Road?
Doing this when schools are out is definitely preferable, as tailbacks can be for a mile during term-time.
A good example of
David Wickens is correct – a search of the TfL Register of Roadworks shows that there is currently no work planned along that section of the A22 by any utility company, including Sutton and East Surrey Water between now and at least 3 months out. [Link: https://public.londonworks.gov.uk/roadworks/%5D Search by ‘Street name’: Godstone Road, then ‘Show results on map’.
From experience (25 years+ working for major civil engineering contractors installing & repairing clean and waste water networks) if a water main is near the end of it’s useful life, it becomes more likely to burst leading to flooding, and should be replaced. How disruptive this will be is dependent on where the main is located in the road, and the available space that there is to install the new main in the available space past all of the other utilities that are in the road. Otherwise, the old section of main may need to be overpumped, usually through a temporary pipe laid on the footway, whilst the old main is broken out and the new main section laid back in the same trench. If the existing main is in the middle of the road, there is no way that the works can be completed on that part of the A22 without closing the road in both directions. If it’s close to the kerb, there may be the option to have one carriageway open in one direction, but the Contractor won’t know if that option is available without a detailed ground probing radar survey and trial holes to ascertain the exact position of the main under the road. My guess is that the situation that is being advised is the likely ‘worst case’.
If J Murphy are advising that the job will require 24 hour working, I would strongly advise that affected businesses and householders get full details of the light pollution and noise mitigation measures that will be provided and implemented. Often what is said in documents and plans isn’t what is provided when the works get started, so be insistent that the they take the minimisation of nuisance seriously – you may not be able to get anyone from the Council to come out and stop the works at 1 o’clock in the morning if you can’t get any sleep!