Traffic Chaos Gets Worse

Things got a whole load worse this week with the closure of the A327 that I blogged about last week. Whilst we had a nice break over the Bank Holiday, with the road being reopened from late Friday afternoon until Tuesday morning, the barriers were back up on Tuesday night. However another of the badly timed local roadworks made it’s presence felt today, with three way traffic lights in the middle of Finchampstead for water main renewal – Finchampstead being the unofficial way most people have been going rather than the official diversion which goes via Reading and Hook. (As an aside, it is worth noting that the New Mill has officially published directions to it’s customers telling them to ignore the diversions and come through Finchampstead – is anyone actually following the official diversion?)

Interestingly, Finchampstead Parish Council spotted that there may be a problem and have the following statement on their site:

From Tuesday 2nd August, the 12 and 15 inch water main through Finchampstead will be relined by SE Water’s contractors Pipeway, … this task will take 5-6 weeks. Inevitably, temporary traffic lights will be in use at times.

To compound the potential traffic disruption, from Monday 15 August the A327 at Eversley Street (southwards from Bluebeckers), is to be completely closed (by Hampshire County Council) for up to 8 weeks to allow for major road repairs. Although some HGV traffic will be diverted, we can expect significant volumes of extra traffic to use Fleet Hill/The Village and also Longwater Road (and hence other Finchampstead routes), in their attempts to find alternative routes past the closure. This closure will be featured on TV news programs to alert drivers.

Clearly, there will be 4 weeks where these works overlap. WDC will closely monitor the situation.

For those who are wondering, WDC is Wokingham District Council, and from previous experience when complaining about badly timed roadworks, will take the tough luck, can’t be that bad attitude, when of course the staff involved, as with those at Hampshire County Council who planned the A327 closure, don’t actually have to sit in the road works every day.

Of course as anybody with children will know, the real problems will start next week, when with the two sets of road works in full swing, all the schools go back, so in addition to the extra school run traffic there will be a number of school buses, and parents parking dropping their kids outside Finchampstead School on the route that everybody is taking anyway. Quite frankly it will be absolute chaos, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an accident somewhere in Finchampstead as a result.

If anyone feels the need to complain about this chaos, the two people responsible for the A327 are James Holt and Martin Milner of the Hampshire County Council Highways office, whose phone number is 01256 764444, and e-mail (thanks to Swallowfield Parish council) is [email protected]. Whilst, as I’ve said, I fully accept that these things need to be done, it surely doesn’t take much to realise that if you close a major road, you should minimise any other disruption in the area.

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