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Bonkers Blog September 2019

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11 September (Part 2) - Five years of misery. (No it’s not another Parliament)

I suspect that most of those who live in the leafy south of the borough have no idea of what northern residents have had to put up with for the past five years. Southerners have the occasional spell of disruption while Bexley Council wrecks another road but in the north it has been relentless as five separate but overlapping operations go on for ever and well past their predicted completion dates and the revised completion dates.

Maybe it is time for a reminder of just how poor Bexley’s highways planning is under their Chief Engineer Andrew Bashford.

Felixstowe Road It started in August 2013 when Network Rail moved in to build the Crossrail station and closed the Felixstowe Car Park aided and abetted by Bexley Council who imposed additional street parking restrictions not to mention exorbitant street parking charges in selected roads.

Fortunately the Network Rail operation went according to plan and the station opened on the day that had been predicted several years earlier. It may not have been completely finished but at least they didn’t disrupt the roads further. Network Rail completely moved out of the Felixstowe Road Car park about a year ago but Bexley Council has kept it closed.

Network Rail has not however been the big problem, it’s been Bexley Council with their four separate but related road projects. The flyover, Harrow Manorway, Gayton Road and Felixstowe Road. You might add Wilton Road too but that was done by Greenwich Council and finished more or less on time.

Bexley Council first made a move on the flyover in 2017. My first photograph of it was taken on 1st March. By coincidence I took my last photo of the work on 1st March 2019. That was seven or eight months late according to Bexley Council.

Harrow ManorwayVery soon after work began on the flyover Harrow Manorway itself was disrupted. FM Conway moved in on 26th May 2017. Bexley Council said the job would be completed by the Autumn of 2018. When it was wasn’t they said it would be done by June this year. Naively I believed them which is why all my 709 photos of the work are filed under a June 2019 date.

The job is still nowhere near being done.

Work on Gayton Road was not due to start until January 2018 but it was deferred until October for reasons which were not entirely unreasonable and given a February 2019 completion date but here we are in mid-September and it is still not completed. The barriers are still there and the promised passenger drop off points and black cab rank are not available either. Did someone mention the promised dozen or so trees? There are none.

Felixstowe Road was supposed to start even earlier, November 2017. Work actually began in April this year and my first photo was taken on the 18th and scheduled to end this Autumn. Perhaps I was optimistic in filing the photos with a September date but the job is probably no more than half done right now.

Their four road schemes reveal shockingly poor planning by Bexley Council. If their forecasts had been correct everything would have been back to normal a year go. Meanwhile we have massive diversions, some for months on end (Felixstowe Road) and others for only weeks. (Harrow Manorway.)

I’m no expert but FM Conway seems to have done a decent job and one must hope it doesn’t go the same way as Bexleyheath Broadway. I do however wish they took more care with pedestrian crossings. The latest example is by the roundabout near Sainsbury’s. They have diverted two carriageways into one which may be fair enough but there is no provision whatsoever for those who might need to cross the road.


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