The following is a letter to the JEP from Clive Broadhead:
From Clive Broadhead.
The closure of St John's main road could be a potential disaster for businesses at the northern side of the work being carried out. The finishing date of 28 November is almost four months away.
My company is La Casa Room Interiors, the old B&Q shop at Les Ruettes, St John. This is a very large shop and as you can imagine has very large overheads.
Since the road started closing during the day, the shop has been like a ghost town during road-closed periods. This has not been a very good year as it is, and the road closure could potentially cripple
It is my opinion that the work should have been carried out during the night where possible. By this I mean where the road is just next to fields, not houses.
Transport and Technical Services have advised me that they cannot work on half of the road at one time and allow one lane open; as the road is not wide enough.
Another solution would be to make small detours around the work by making the country lanes closest to the working area one way for south bound vehicles and the other side of the road one way for northbound vehicles. Again TTS have. advised that this is not possible.
We do not know how much business we have lost, but an estimate would be around 40% down.
If we look at the resurfacing work done back in 2006 for a huge stretch of road as far as the Union Inn - Queen's Road and sections of La Grande Route de St Jean were resurfaced from mid-2006 to early 2007 by Brenwal Ltd and A. Le Sech (Asphalt) Ltd -the information from TTS at the time said:
"Transport and Technical Services would like to remind road users that the Queen's Road resurfacing works starts on Tuesday 11 July. There will be restricted traffic flows Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm and from 6.30pm until 9pm , and on Saturday from 8am until 1pm . Normal two way traffic will be maintained during weekday peak hours (7.30 to 9am and 4 to 6:30pm) so as not to disrupt the morning and evening rush hour traffic, at all other times diversion routes will be signed. Customer access to businesses will be maintained."
"The first phase of the works lasting 3 weeks is in Queens Road from Pen Y Craig Avenue to the junction with New St John's Road and is part of an eleven week programme to resurface the stretch of road right through to the Union Inn, most of which was last resurfaced some 20 years ago"
Notice how the work was done outside of peak hours, so that motorists could use the road, and any businesses would get the benefit of the passing trade, and there was restricted traffic flow. More extensive hours of access were available on Saturday to help businesses.
In May 2012, a road near the airport was closed for resurfacing, and again we note the careful hours to disrupt businesses the least:
The main resurfacing work was carried out at night-time from 7.30pm to 2am so that airline passengers and commuters were not delayed. For some sections where there were no houses in close proximity, the working hours were extended to 4am
What has happened since then? When the lower part of Queen's road was closed, most of the work was done at night. In 2012, on a separate project, most of the work was done at night. So what has changed?
Despite the "technical" reasons given to Mr Broadhead, I think that the major change has been cost. TTS has had to make significant savings under the Medium Term Plan, and one area where costs can be cut is to remove night time working.
That makes everything a lot cheaper, no lighting required, no overtime costs - but there is a cost none the less to all the businesses, and it is they who have to pay the price for these economies. It is a triumph of narrow accounting over strategic planning.
How different things were back in 2006:
Transport and Technical Services (TTS) and their contractor, Brenwal, have worked hard to do all they can to complete the Queen's Road / La Grande Route de St Jean road resurfacing project in as quick a time as possible and they are pleased to be able to open to traffic 2 weeks early, just in time for the busy start of the school term on 11th September.
Time has been saved laying the new road surface through the development of innovative new methods of working by the contractor Brenwal and TTS's Highway Engineers, allowing up to 150 tons of asphalt to be laid per day. Detailed early planning by TTS's Engineers in close liaison with Brenwal has allowed major works to be completed with the minimum of disruption to traffic.
The current work is being done by TTS Contractor Pallot Tarmac and not by the same contractor Brenwal who did the earlier part. It would be interesting to know how (adjusting for cost of living), the hourly costs of this daytime contract compare with the day and night work done by Brenwal, and the amount of asphalt laid per day.
Last time, there was minimum disruption because of "detailed early planning" which caused "the minimum disruption to traffic". I wonder if the same level of early planning took place this time?
The Minister for TTS has overall responsibility for the Department and its operations. Looking at this fiasco, and the missed completion target for St Aubin's development, I would say he is not doing terribly well. As a Deputy in St Saviour, he probably will get re-elected, but if he really wanted the Island to judge his record, he should eschew his safe seat and try for Senator. Somehow, I doubt if he will.
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