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> Congestion at Thatcham Station, Traffic survey approved but no bridge will be built
Richard Garvie
post Oct 27 2011, 03:32 PM
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Congrats to the two ward councillors for securing £12,000 of funding for a traffic survey at Thatcham Station. I'm not sure in all honesty what it will achieve though when the council have already ruled out a bridge and / or any measures that require investment but I guess it's a step in the right direction. The £12,000 has been taken out of the members pot which is used for projects in individual members wards.

I was pretty scathing of both members when I asked the council about this previously to find they had done nothing, and it's only fair that I should give them some credit for starting to do something about it (better late than never). They have a long way to go, their pledge was to look far and wide to resolve the issue, and I for one hope they can sort it out.
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Guest_xjay1337_*
post Oct 27 2011, 04:03 PM
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What's the point of doing a survey if they won't do anything? It'd be better to throw the £12000 out of the window of a train while it's in Thatcham station.
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Turin Machine
post Oct 27 2011, 04:07 PM
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Ok, what would you do about the problem, go on, enlighten us.


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dannyboy
post Oct 27 2011, 04:15 PM
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QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Oct 27 2011, 05:07 PM) *
Ok, what would you do about the problem, go on, enlighten us.

Build a bridge.
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Turin Machine
post Oct 27 2011, 04:30 PM
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where ? how ?


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betsy
post Oct 27 2011, 04:47 PM
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Across the line at Thatcham Station of course!!
We've known for years that a bridge was needed so why waste another £12k on a pointless exercise?
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Richard Garvie
post Oct 27 2011, 05:01 PM
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What the officers told me:


Dear Mr Garvie,




In response to your question:



Could you please advise what work the council has undertaken with regards to identifying a solution to the congestion at Thatcham station, most notably:



What solutions have been identified

The feasability of these projects

Estimated costs.




In response I can advise that this is an important railway line and consequently the level crossing barriers are in the down position blocking the road on numerous occasions throughout the day. Peak time commuter traffic movements also coincide with peak time commuter rail movements and consequently delays can be lengthy at these times resulting in queuing traffic in the general area of the station.



There is nothing that the Highway Authority can do to resolve this problem whilst there is a level crossing at this location. The only way that the problem could be resolved would be to build a bridge over the railway thus removing the need for the level crossing. However this would be extremely expensive and there is unfortunately no likelihood in the foreseeable future of the Council being able to fund such an expensive proposal. The cost of providing this structure at present is unknown. Given the vertical alignment at the level crossing it is likely that any such structure would also need to continuously span the Kennet and Avon Canal and the River Kennet, which would considerably add to the cost.



There is very little funding for transport schemes being provided from central government in the current economic climate but where it is this is only provided for projects of high strategic importance. It is highly unlikely that this location in Thatcham would ever be deemed to have significant strategic importance to the highway network even if central government funds were to become more widely available at some point in the future.



If you are unhappy with the way that the Council has handled your request please contact me and I will arrange for a review to be undertaken.



Yours sincerely,




David Lowe

Scrutiny and Partnerships Manager

West Berkshire Council

Market Street

Newbury

Berkshire

RG14 5LD

So as has been raised here, what will they do with the study results if they can't do the only solution identified? Does that mean the £12,000 will be wasted on a study that cannot influence the outcomes or potential outcomes?
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Cognosco
post Oct 27 2011, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Garvie @ Oct 27 2011, 06:01 PM) *
What the officers told me:


Dear Mr Garvie,




In response to your question:



Could you please advise what work the council has undertaken with regards to identifying a solution to the congestion at Thatcham station, most notably:



What solutions have been identified

The feasability of these projects

Estimated costs.




In response I can advise that this is an important railway line and consequently the level crossing barriers are in the down position blocking the road on numerous occasions throughout the day. Peak time commuter traffic movements also coincide with peak time commuter rail movements and consequently delays can be lengthy at these times resulting in queuing traffic in the general area of the station.



There is nothing that the Highway Authority can do to resolve this problem whilst there is a level crossing at this location. The only way that the problem could be resolved would be to build a bridge over the railway thus removing the need for the level crossing. However this would be extremely expensive and there is unfortunately no likelihood in the foreseeable future of the Council being able to fund such an expensive proposal. The cost of providing this structure at present is unknown. Given the vertical alignment at the level crossing it is likely that any such structure would also need to continuously span the Kennet and Avon Canal and the River Kennet, which would considerably add to the cost.



There is very little funding for transport schemes being provided from central government in the current economic climate but where it is this is only provided for projects of high strategic importance. It is highly unlikely that this location in Thatcham would ever be deemed to have significant strategic importance to the highway network even if central government funds were to become more widely available at some point in the future.



If you are unhappy with the way that the Council has handled your request please contact me and I will arrange for a review to be undertaken.



Yours sincerely,




David Lowe

Scrutiny and Partnerships Manager

West Berkshire Council

Market Street

Newbury

Berkshire

RG14 5LD

So as has been raised here, what will they do with the study results if they can't do the only solution identified? Does that mean the £12,000 will be wasted on a study that cannot influence the outcomes or potential outcomes?



Give it to SLI the same as they seem to have given every other spare £ if the rumours are true? rolleyes.gif


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spartacus
post Oct 27 2011, 07:00 PM
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This has been covered numerous times locally in the press and on this forum.

The letter you quote from is the same letter from David Lowe that you copied onto here on 28 June to start off the 'Council admits election pledge is unworkable' thread...

'Council admit election pledge is unworkable' linky thing
Newbury Weekly News Article

There's seven pages of t'internet argument on why there's no realistic chance of some relief at this level crossing. (Let's not drag it up again... if you're interested betsy, read the thread)

There's two options - A bridge or a tunnel. (Well THREE if you include the one where the railways stop running......) NEITHER of these are realistic and as far as the bridge is concerned, no bridge could be built in this location due to the expanse it would have to cover. The Councillors at the time (Owen Jeffrey and Terry Port) pushed through the weight restriction for this road (Crookham Hill) There's no money in the local pot to pay for a bridge (got a spare £5 million anyone? )and there's no chance of central government splashing cash on a (massive structure of a) bridge that will not even be allowed to take HGVs.... Rules it out as a 'Strategic Route'.


So, I may be being a bit thick here, but given the above..... WHY is it that you think the ward councillors should be 'congratulated' on being awarded £12,000 to waste on a study that will just regurgitate information that's already known and suggest a solution that can never be delivered?!

Bonkers!!

Stand up Councillors Dominic Boeck and Roger Croft!!

Take the applause......

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Turin Machine
post Oct 27 2011, 07:04 PM
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A bridge would be difficult, the span needed to clear the line would be such that you would need to cros the canal and possibly the river as well, this would mean an equally long ramp on the thatcham side, cutting of the swan PH and possibly some of the business area as well. not really feasable.


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Richard Garvie
post Oct 27 2011, 08:33 PM
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QUOTE (spartacus @ Oct 27 2011, 08:00 PM) *
This has been covered numerous times locally in the press and on this forum.

The letter you quote from is the same letter from David Lowe that you copied onto here on 28 June to start off the 'Council admits election pledge is unworkable' thread...

'Council admit election pledge is unworkable' linky thing
Newbury Weekly News Article

There's seven pages of t'internet argument on why there's no realistic chance of some relief at this level crossing. (Let's not drag it up again... if you're interested betsy, read the thread)

There's two options - A bridge or a tunnel. (Well THREE if you include the one where the railways stop running......) NEITHER of these are realistic and as far as the bridge is concerned, no bridge could be built in this location due to the expanse it would have to cover. The Councillors at the time (Owen Jeffrey and Terry Port) pushed through the weight restriction for this road (Crookham Hill) There's no money in the local pot to pay for a bridge (got a spare £5 million anyone? )and there's no chance of central government splashing cash on a (massive structure of a) bridge that will not even be allowed to take HGVs.... Rules it out as a 'Strategic Route'.


So, I may be being a bit thick here, but given the above..... WHY is it that you think the ward councillors should be 'congratulated' on being awarded £12,000 to waste on a study that will just regurgitate information that's already known and suggest a solution that can never be delivered?!

Bonkers!!

Stand up Councillors Dominic Boeck and Roger Croft!!

Take the applause......



Tongue. In. Cheek. It's a total waste of money, but who am I to argue. I'm just glad that we have such competent people representing us on the council who know better than me. Why didn't I think of asking for a traffic study?

At the end of the day, this is nothing short of a £12k PR stunt for the elected members identified.
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NWNREADER
post Oct 27 2011, 08:48 PM
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So.... If they 'do nothing', they are letting the voters down.
If they do something, likewise as they are wasting the cost of the action?
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user23
post Oct 27 2011, 08:53 PM
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QUOTE (NWNREADER @ Oct 27 2011, 09:48 PM) *
So.... If they 'do nothing', they are letting the voters down.
If they do something, likewise as they are wasting the cost of the action?
Is this the same Mr Garvie who's been complaining about a lack of consultation and study before other decisions were made, yet in this case he's moaning that a study is being carried out.
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Richard Garvie
post Oct 27 2011, 08:57 PM
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QUOTE (NWNREADER @ Oct 27 2011, 09:48 PM) *
So.... If they 'do nothing', they are letting the voters down.
If they do something, likewise as they are wasting the cost of the action?


No. They are wasting money from the members projects fund when the council recently admitted that it is unlikely a scheme would ever be in place to solve the problem. A traffic survey will deliver little, if they were going to do anything, it should be looking into how much a bridge will cost. Somebody on here said £5m, I reckon you are looking at more than that and some people have quoted £20m on other threads. Let's find out what it would cost and then look at ways to raise the money.

Before you shoot me down, the council have already said that the only solution has been identified. Why spend £12k on a traffic survey, then more trying to find a solution, only to arrive at where we are now?
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spartacus
post Oct 27 2011, 08:58 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Garvie @ Oct 27 2011, 09:33 PM) *
Tongue. In. Cheek.

Thought so.... Is there any way to confirm this? (Not the 'tongue on cheek' bit, but the study thing...)

User, £12k is a significant amount to just waste on some glossy paper and some photos. It's pointless....
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Richard Garvie
post Oct 27 2011, 09:03 PM
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QUOTE (spartacus @ Oct 27 2011, 09:58 PM) *
Thought so.... Is there any way to confirm this? (Not the 'tongue on cheek' bit, but the study thing...)


It's in today's paper. Basically a study will say what amount of traffic is using the road, and for that price you'd want to know where that traffic is going, so is the traffic going up the hill and turning right to head up to Greenham or is it traffic heading to Basingstoke etc.? But none of that will help build a bridge.
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Richard Garvie
post Oct 27 2011, 09:12 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Oct 27 2011, 09:53 PM) *
Is this the same Mr Garvie who's been complaining about a lack of consultation and study before other decisions were made, yet in this case he's moaning that a study is being carried out.


This is not a consultation though, it's basically a survey of the number of cars using the crossing etc. How will that help when it comes to building a bridge? If they said they were going to spend a few hundred quid on leaflets to canvass public opinion and go out and listen to people, I'd support that fully. I'd volunteer to help them. But a £12k car counting excercise will do little to help the situation. Like I said, we spend £12k on the traffic survey. Then another £30k on translating that data into potential outcomes. Then we get the bombshell, the only solution is a bridge.

Let's cut the bull. How much is a bridge going to cost? That's what I want to know. That's what the people of Thatcham West (who were promised a bridge by the Tories on the doorstep) want to know. Just get on with it and tell us, and stop chucking good money after bad on pointless political point scoring excercises and do what residents want.
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spartacus
post Oct 27 2011, 10:16 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Garvie @ Oct 27 2011, 10:12 PM) *
....Let's cut the bull. How much is a bridge going to cost? That's what I want to know. .
See page 9 of the Thatcham Vision Action Plan. Published in January 2007 it already quoted a £12m minimum price tag for a bridge. (Granted, not at this location) What with inflation and general 'add-ons' after tenders are won wink.gif then a conservative estimate would probably be more in line with a £20m minimum figure....

Thatcham Vision linky thing

QUOTE ('Thatcham Vision Action Plan 2007')
About a bridge ..
For a number of reasons a bridge could not be built in the current crossing location. The only practical solution would be to build a bridge further to the east. The cost, together with new roads, would cost at least £12m (based on the latest estimate) and this would almost certainly have to be funded by West Berkshire council tax payers or private businesses which would have an interest in creating a south Thatcham bypass (e.g. logistics firms). Inevitably a bridge would result in increasing traffic and would attract new traffic, e.g. HGVs coming eastwards to Basingstoke or the A34 south. Overall it seems unrealistic to imagine that such a project is likely to go ahead in the near future. A bridge would also have major environmental consequences and for this reason would not meet criteria required for central Government funding


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Richard Garvie
post Oct 27 2011, 10:21 PM
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QUOTE (spartacus @ Oct 27 2011, 11:16 PM) *
See page 9 of the Thatcham Vision Action Plan. Published in January 2007 it already quoted a £12m minimum price tag for a bridge. (Granted, not at this location) What with inflation and general 'add-ons' after tenders are won wink.gif then a conservative estimate would probably be more in line with a £20m minimum figure....


I take your point, but David Lowe has said the cost is "unknown". Let's find out, not guessing or doing figures in ones head. If we knew the cost, we could then try and establish what the funding options are (if any).
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spartacus
post Oct 27 2011, 11:02 PM
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You could go round in endless circles on this type of thing.

Who would pick up the tab for the engineer charged with dreaming up such a figure? How many days/weeks would he be allocated to cost up such a scheme (assuming the back of a fag packet scribbles aren't going to meet your exacting standards). Should he be tasked with costing up a 'Fantasy Bridge' at this entirely unsuitable location (like the concept cars you see at motor shows but never see on the road), or should he be charged with costing up a realistic alternative at a more appropriate location?

And this is assuming it would be a Council Highways Planner given the task... If it was some Traffic or Civil Engineering Consultancy doing the work then you'd need more than the £12,000 upfront to get a sensible figure.... You would however get several pretty binders to go with the reams of glossy paper and pretty pictures for that money.. The result would be the same though....


Or should we just perhaps allow the engineers to get on with their proper day jobs and not ask them to waste their valuable time on 'Engineering in La-La Land' concept projects....

I know, you know and most people with an ounce of grey matter swishing between their ears know that whatever the figure is, it's going to be too much.....
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