Apology given over East Grinstead roadworks

THE COUNTY council has apologised to motorists and residents for the inconvenience that has been caused as a result of the major roadworks at the A22 London Road in East Grinstead.

West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Pieter Montyn, said: “We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise for the delays which people have endured since work began at the junction with Imberhorne Lane on 8 May.

“Unfortunately there is never a good time to carry out works like this.

“We are working with the contractor to encourage them to take all necessary steps to complete the work as soon as possible.”

The county council has provided answers to frequently asked questions they have receeived over the project.

1. Why are these roadworks taking place?

The roadworks at the A22 London Road junction with Imberhorne Lane in East Grinstead are being carried out to improve the traffic signals and create an access to new retail units on the Bridge Park site. The scheme will ensure that traffic from the retail units can be accommodated in a satisfactory manner.

2. Who is responsible for the work?

These are not West Sussex County Council highways works. Planning permission was given to the scheme by Mid Sussex District Council. The developer Property Investment Holdings has employed contractor BDB Design & Build Ltd to carry out the work. The highway works have been subcontracted to Walker Construction (UK) Ltd, an experienced road contractor which works on highway schemes across the UK. West Sussex County Council is facilitating it by allowing the improvements to take place on its road network.

3. Why is this work being done now?

The developer has been working closely with West Sussex County Council since January 2012 to find an available slot to occupy the road space. There are many demands for road space and these works had to be programmed around gas and other utility work earlier in the year. In addition, the work must be finished before the Olympic torch relay arrives in East Grinstead on 17 July.

4. Why can’t work be extended into the evenings/weekends?

The hours of work permitted by Mid Sussex District Council when it granted planning permission were 8am-6pm from Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm on Saturday. No work is permitted on Sundays or bank holidays.

5. Why can’t work be carried out overnight?

Work cannot be permitted to take place overnight because there are residential properties in close proximity to the works. The restrictions on working hours were put in place to safeguard the amenities of neighbouring properties.

6. What else is being done to alleviate the traffic jams?

West Sussex County Council has sought confirmation from the developer that work will be carried out every Saturday until the project is finished.

Highways resurfacing works scheduled on the B2110 in Turners Hill Road, East Grinstead overnight on Monday, May 14 have been postponed until the project is finished.

A West Sussex County Council highway inspector is on site daily to make sure everything is being done to speed up the work. This includes reviewing the signal layout and timings, ensuring only essential work is being carried out, checking the maximum number of tasks are being done simultaneously by the contractor and making sure the contractor works the full hours permitted by Mid Sussex District Council and is on programme.

The safety of the travelling public and operatives working on the highway is of paramount importance and the County Council’s health and safety officer has attended the site to review matters.

7. Why was this work started while similar signalling works was happening at the same time in Surrey?

Surrey County Council Streetworks was informed of these planned works in January. Subsequently Surrey County Council did not inform West Sussex County Council it had granted permission to carry out signalised works a short distance across the Surrey border from East Grinstead. These additional works may have exacerbated the congestion on the A22. These works have since been completed.

8. Are any diversions in place?

There are no diversions in place because the road is not closed. Notices warning of the delays are located on the A264 and A22 in Surrey and West Sussex to inform drivers so they can choose to find alternative routes.

9. When will the work be completed?

The work began on Tuesday May 8 and is expected to take eight weeks to complete. However West Sussex County Council is doing everything in its power to help the contractor finish ahead of schedule.

10. What can drivers do in the meantime?

Unfortunately there is never a good time to carry out works like this and we recognise the frustration this has caused both motorists and residents. We ask drivers travelling through East Grinstead to allow extra time for their journey while the work is being done.