A422 - information received from Northamptonshire Highways
Northamptonshire Highways is liaising with partner agencies so work can start as soon as possible to repair the A422 bridge over Farthinghoe Stream in the south of the county.
This is a difficult issue given the sudden, unexpected closure of the bridge on the A422. Northamptonshire Highways is extremely conscious of the impact to the public and have not taken the decision to close this route lightly and do give diversions a lot of consideration. The county council has a duty, not only to safeguard members of the public, but to manage our structures so that they do not pose an unacceptable risk to public safety.
We completely understand issues raised relating to safety as a result of the closure. In these types of scenarios it is not always possible to manage traffic flows and speeds etc. for which individual motorists are accountable. It is important to note that poor driver behaviour cannot be fixed with additional signage. People need to drive according to the roads and conditions. We have also been working with the local school and community groups to add speed restrictions where we are able to.
We have reviewed all signage and cannot add more. There are so many signs there now that it could actually be detrimental as drivers are ignoring. This does happen as drivers become 'sign blind'.
The diversion route is clearly signed and we have a duty to choose the route based on roads that can cope with additional traffic to mitigate the impact on local communities. When Northamptonshire Highways close a road and put a diversion in place we must provide an alternative route on a similar standard of road. Diversions are carefully chosen to follow roads of a suitable standard and width to carry all traffic and avoid weight restrictions.
HGVs should be following this diversion and there are 'No HGV' signs all over this location. Sat Nav does sometimes guide people to use local routes and we are not able to do anything about this as the various software takes time to update. We are monitoring all traffic and the impact the diversion and HGVs are having on the area during this closure.
We are working with the Environment Agency (EA) to gain their consent and as soon as we do we will be able to start the process of repair. This is normal practice and we are not able to start work without these required legal consents and must follow the process. We had a meeting on site with EA Thursday 11th October and discussed the proposed design and repair method. There remains ecological issues which we are now addressing to ensure we comply with the EA requirements. This work should not impact the current timeline of being on site this year, for three weeks, to repair and open the A422.
We are aware of the concern in the local community that there is not enough funding to repair this bridge and open the road. To allow us to repair this route we have moved funds that were allocated elsewhere to address this issue. These are significant financial constraints in Northamptonshire and we always use the funds available to us in the best way we are able to. This means that other locations requiring work will now be moved down the programme and become a lower priority.
I have also heard people saying there will be traffic lights or a weight restriction. This is not the case.
Our winter service starts on Monday October 15th and we are looking at our gritting programme. We understand the concerns that the local roads currently being used are not usually gritted and will be able to provide more information about this soon.
As soon as I have the works start date I will email you and update online and on Twitter @nnhighways
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We have also uploaded a factsheet to the NCC website and will update as we are able to. Factsheet
Please be assured our priority is to get on site, repair and open the bridge.
Please do contact me if I can be of any further assistance.
Brixworth Depot, Harborough Road, Northamptonshire, NN6 9BX
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Posted: Wed, 17 Oct 2018 15:20 by Stephanie Campbell