Back in April, Wales + West Utilities [W+W] were working along Barley Lane to replace the gas main pipe between Croft Chase and Dunsford Road, and replace or transfer services to 29 properties.
The roadworks were finished on schedule on 08 May 2015 – but that’s not to say W+W completed the job!
There is a speed table at the junction of Somerset Avenue, Barley Lane and Eton Walk – and this has been specially laid with an imitation brick finish when Sylvan Heights was being developed.
The utility company filled in the trench they created across this speed table with tarmac…
Under s70-73 of Part 3 of Traffic Management Act 2004, W+W are legally entitled to retain an Interim Reinstatement in place for up to 6 months before a Permanent Reinstatement replaces it.
I have been in discussions with Highways officers from Devon County Council who have informed me that the utilities company is required to match trench reinstatements with the existing surface, and their Streetworks Inspector is liaising with W+W on this issue.
The problem has arisen from the fact that the imprint design on this junction is a custom design , so DCC has had to go back to the Sylvan Heights developer, Taylor Wimpey, to obtain the exact specification and contractor details to enable W+W to commission a matching reinstatement as required.
Until this can be arranged the trench needed to be reinstated to open the road fully to traffic, the quickest and easiest material to put back now which can then be excavated easily again is the temporary bitmac reinstatement.
Whilst it is not appropriate or usual to immediately take legal action [leading to a fine of up to £5,000 for failure to comply] while the Interim repair is providing a safe running surface for vehicles, the 6 months expires on 01 December 2015 so an Interim Reinstatement would become an issue after that date.
But it’s become a bit more complicated…
I am also told that W+W will have to re-excavate within this concrete section when they resume their major works on Barley Lane in January. In this instance, it would normally not be unreasonable for W+W to request that the 6 months period of grace be extended so that the specialist contractor might complete all the work on one visit to site.
Apparently W+W have registered all their reinstatement work on Barley Lane on the Register as permanent rather than interim…
Because there seems to be specific public concern regarding the visual aspect of the Interim Reinstatement I am pushing DCC not to approve consent to an extension.