On Thursday 4th May, you have a chance to elect a new councillor to represent Weybridge on Surrey County Council.
Your local Liberal Democrat candidate is long term Weybridge resident Vicki Macleod.
You may know Vicki from her work in our local community, perhaps from her five years chairing the Friends of The Weybridge Centre charity. or as a school governor.
Vicki‘s priority is to give Weybridge a stronger voice for better delivery of the services local people need, including:
Better maintained and safer local roads and pavements
Local school places for Weybridge children
Responsible budget management by Surrey County Council
Many people see Surrey County Council as remote and inefficient with its history of mismanagement. Vicki will work with other councillors to put pressure on the administration for more effective financial management and for budgets that reflect local needs. Her longer term aim is to see some of the services currently run by Surrey brought into local Elmbridge control.
Digger’s Bridge. The bridge by Weybridge station has been resurfaced – big improvement. However, even when driving across it I noticed that it was very bumpy. This worries me because it seems that it was a full resurface and not a skim. When a highway is given a full resurface it is usually very smooth – like Holstein Avenue where I live. Even a cyclist cannot feel any bumps because the surface is as smooth as glass. Because bridges are difficult to resurface given their location, I would have thought one would not want to maintain the location too often and therefore a full resurface would be provided. Is the recent work a poorly done full resurface or a halfway measure?
Weybridge Point. Place where Walton Lane, Weybridge meets Thames Street was been recently resurfaced. Could this be an opportunity not to replace the overly “main highway” road markings used in the past? I know that it is a bend but it is in a 20mph zone. If it has to have markings could they at least be minimal?
The road surface over Weybridge’s Old Bridge has been poor for too long. Wey Meadows residents pointed out to me that this short stretch must be the worst in Weybridge. I called Surrey’s chief highways engineer who reviewed the situation and told me that following inspection of the bridge the structure team had decided to bring the resurfacing work forward to June or July this year.
In the meantime there will be extra patching (now installed but not satisfactory).
Surrey structures team does not believe that the poor surface threatens the integrity of the bridge itself.
I would bring all the schedules of work into the public domain so that we could at least see the order in which these works were to be done and why. Whilst none of us want delay (like waiting for a bus) we feel better if we know when the project will begin (like bus indicator boards). The technology is not that expensive and I believe it would save Surrey money.
The British government produced a new fund for pothole repair recently. Surrey last year received a grant of £16,714,000 to maintain Surrey’s roads. The amount for this year was cut by £1,391,000 to £15,323,000. To this the national government has added the “extra money for potholes” of £1,033,000 – a net cut of £358,000 for the year.
To add salt to the wound the national government is “giving” local government part of the business rates from 2020. Not declaring that these taxes were originally raised by and for local government in the first place.
On average each county fixed 12,000 potholes last year. At this rate it would take 14 years to clear the repair backlog in England. Surrey’s position is worse and it would take longer.
At current rates of repair it would take 65 years to resurface our entire road network and Surrey would take longer.
We have to remind ourselves that Surrey has the wealth to repair all of our highways. In my view it is the duty of Surrey to give priority to maintain those aspects of life that cannot be undertaken by individuals for themselves: such as highways, environment and security.
Surrey transport engineers tell me that Dorchester Road is on the provisional programme for a micro-asphalt surface treatment in the municipal year 2016/17. These schemes have not yet been programmed but the works are seasonal, so should be implemented during the Spring/Summer.
Micro asphalt is classed as a surface treatment, but is different to surface dressing in that the asphalt is laid as a liquid slurry in two coats (base coat and top coat) up to 20mm thick. Once the the slurry has cured/broken the road can be trafficked less than an hour after application. The micro asphalt process is used on residential streets that are structurally sound and will seal the road (stopping ingress of water) and improve texture (skid resistance).
There are two stages:
1. The street will be prepped with all defects (potholes) being patched/sealed.
2. At a later date micro asphalt will be applied.
Rat-runs might not concern you or they could be the bane of your life let us know your views. At this point I’d better say what a rat-run is (someone asked me so I should not assume that the term is generally understood). Indeed, when I was a child we called them duck-shoves – a street used by the irresponsible.
A rat-run or duck-shove is a street, or series of streets, that people use to avoid travelling along a main road. They become heavily trafficked at peak times because the main road is slow or blocked completely. Rut-runs used to be the preserve of locals but with modern dynamic satnavs outsiders can be guided done any streets that is available. Rat-runs will become more widespread and more trafficked as time passes.
If you want to give your views on rat-running click here.
The map below shows main roads in black, major rat-runs in red, minor rat-runs in orange ant no through streets in green. Fortunately, most us live on green streets but consider those people who live or walk down those red and orange streets..
I have been notified that there is a request to close Dorchester Road for resurfacing and other maintenance work from Monday, 8 February. It does not mean that it will take place then but I’ll keep you posted if I hear more.
As I cycle around the ward I make a note of the quality of the road surface. A number of streets have been transformed in recent years other are still very poor. Some streets vary along their length Queen’s Road is bordering on excellent in some parts but in others very poor. In my list I have given a general assessment of the whole street and is there are part that differ greatly then mention under “in parts”. I have awarded two better than average categories and two less than average. Do tell me if the disagree with my judgement – I ham more than happy to look at streets again.
Ideally any street marked poor or very poor should already have been resurfaced but do not holder you breathe – at the current rate of progress Surrey will never mange to resurface all the streets. The richest county in the country – what went wrong? I wonder whether is has something to do with the fact that the same party has governed Surrey for over 100 years and complacency set in years ago.
Over the next five years Surrey plans to reconstruct 10% of the roads in Elmbridge. The table below indicates the streets in the schedule for Weybridge. Do tell me if you think your road should have been included. In other words is your street in a worse condition than any of the streets listed here? For move information click here Elmbridge Road Resurfacing Schedule. The final decision is planned to be taken on 24 June 2013 at the Surrey Elmbridge Local Committee – you have a chance to change the list.
If we accept that we are not going to have our roads resurfaced any time soon. We should not accept it but let’s do so for the sake of argument. If we also accept that pot-holes are being left unfixed for far too long and often poorly fixed when they are. What we should expect is to be told what the timetable is for roads to be resurfaced and pot-holes to be fixed.
In my view anyone should be able to go on-line and find out when their road is to be resurfaced or when a pot-hole is to be scheduled for repair.
I assume that Surrey has a database for its engineers, supervisors and work-people to enable them to plan their work. It is relatively cheap and simple to build a website that accesses the Surrey database and provides the public with what they want to know.
Such a website and web-service connection to Surrey’s database could be built in a few days and if Surrey cannot get change from £10,000 then it is going to the wrong supplier. My company commissions such work for few less.
You might say that spending this money doesn’t repair a single pot-hole and you would be correct. But it would repair Surrey’s relationship with its people.
They even extend it for use by phone. You see a pot hole and you can either report it (if it is new) but more importantly you can see when it is going to be repaired and when that stretch of road is planned to be resurfaced.
It would remove many people’s frustration. It would also make the whole repair system more robust because people will be able to see whose streets are being repaired before theirs is.
Christian Mahne, our new Weybridge county councillor, was enamoured of the idea when I put it too him recently – he is keen to take it forward. I wish him every success.