County council to begin urgent repairs to Byall Fen Road, Manea following Cambs Times exposure - the work starts on Monday

PUBLISHED: 17:58 18 March 2016 | UPDATED: 17:58 18 March 2016

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Urgent repairs to Byall Fen Road near Manea have been ordered to begin from Monday.

Road surface damage on Byall Fen Road, Manea. Picture: Steve Williams.Road surface damage on Byall Fen Road, Manea. Picture: Steve Williams.

The promise of speedy action came tonight from Cambridgeshire County Council and follows the Cambs Times exposure of shoddy workmanship following a recent repairs programme.

Angry villagers bombarded this newspaper with complaints about damage to their cars after our investigation began into the Byall Fen Road debacle.

A council spokesman said tonight: “Following inspections of Byall Fen Road near Manea, it will be closed between Lyons Drove and Horseway Bridge from Monday March 21, 8am to 5pm in order to carry out repair work to sections of the highway.

“In total 2,600 square metres of tarmac will be laid to a deeper level than normal due to the underground conditions.

“This work is being carried out to parts of the Byall Fen Road not covered by the recent £140,000 widening scheme.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to local residents and commuters in the area but the safety of drivers is clearly our priority. A signed diversion will be in place.”

Councillor Dave Connor had previously promised he would be “looking for answers” after being inundated with complaints about the state of the road.

He added: “People should know where taxpayers’ money is going and we should get value for money. In this instance that doesn’t appear to be the case.”

Whilst agreeing “we are where we are” he said he would be following up complaints with county council officials.

“We also need to look at the way these works are put out to tender.”

When the scheme was announced in January it was revealed by Cllr Connor it would cost £300,000 – a figure not challenged until this week. The council says they spent £140,000 and were unsure where the original figure came from!

Richard Lumley, head of local infrastructure and street management, said: “The £140,000 widening scheme at Byall Fen Road covered nearly ½ mile of road and was completed last week.

“This work was carried out on a section of road which was not designed to cope with the size and weight of vehicles which were using it on a daily basis.

“The widening work involved an extra metre of highway being fully constructed along the length of this section of the highway so it is now fit for heavy goods vehicles to safely drive along the road.

“However, we are aware that there are parts of the road - which were outside the improvement scheme – which require urgent maintenance work which will be carried out over the next week. We apologise for any inconvenience which this additional work will involve.

“We do understand the concerns of local residents who use Byall Road to drive to work or travel to school.

“Unfortunately the damage to the verges and edges of the road stems from the greater use of the road by ever larger vehicles - we will be speaking to haulage companies to see what can be done to limit this damage.

“Our priority is always to maintain a safe and well maintained highway and we will act swiftly to resolve any issues which we find or are raised by local communities.”

A council spokesman said that should there be any member of the public who believes their vehicle has been damaged by a road they should contact them via www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk or call 0345 045 5200.

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