I recently received the following update from the senior engineer from the Bridges section at the Council:

“Following our correspondence last year, I am writing to advise you of recent developments with our proposal to replace the culvert at the A658 Pool Bank New Road. The culvert is located to the north of the A658 Pool Bank New Road’s junction with the A660 Leeds Road.

The original proposal was to construct a new reinforced concrete box culvert straight across the road and infilling the existing masonry culvert, part of which is in poor condition, making it redundant. To enable this, the works required the construction a new open watercourse in adjacent private land, for which an easement would have been required.

Unfortunately, it has not been possible to agree acceptable terms for the easement with the landowner. As such, we have reviewed the proposals in order to deliver a solution which does not require private land but which is still considered to be acceptable for the future safety of the travelling public and management of the culvert.

After consultations with our colleagues in the Legal section over the best way to proceed, the outcome is that we are now proposing to construct a reinforced concrete slab over a section of the existing culvert beneath the carriageway only. This solution ensures we do not need to undertake works on private land (i.e. no easement is required) and protects the part of the culvert which is in the worst condition. We anticipate the amended works will last approximately 10 weeks and temporary traffic signals and single lane traffic will be needed throughout the works.

We have some further design work to complete and our expectation is that the construction work will commence sometime after the new year and be timed to minimise traffic disruption as far as is practicable. We will of course continue to provide you with updates.”

It is unfortunate that the Council haven’t been able to gain agreement in respect of their original proposal, however I welcome the way the Council has worked to try to find a solution to this much needed piece of work. I am not qualified enough to make any comment on the engineering solution however I am concerned at the disruption that will be caused in the village and residents could be forgiven for thinking that Pool is consistently under attack from the various highways works being carried out by the Council, Utility companies etc.

I haven’t yet had sight of the Traffic Management Plan and I feel that this should have been made available at the same time as this information about the proposal for the culvert replacement. It is also important that the timing of the actual work over a 10 week period minimises the disruption. For example, I wouldn’t want to see it taking place through months where the weather might be adverse and as such the work might take longer than 10 weeks. Equally I would be concerned if the work was taking place at a time when vehicular movement through the village was at a peak and I feel that flexibility will be needed. There will also be an impact on the businesses within Pool village and whatever solution they come up with this needs to be considerative of this; but the safety of pedestrians whilst moving throughout the village is paramount. There will also be an impact on the surrounding towns and villages and highways will need to be spot on with their diversion signing to help motorists move through as quickly as possible.