Highways contractor with £1m+ fines set to get further five year contract

Liberal Democrat opposition councillors at Herts County Council have hit out over a decision to recommend that its main highways contractor, Ringway, is set to be awarded an extended contract for another five years.

Ringway has been fined just under £1.2m for poor workmanship in the last 5 years, leaving opposition councillors scratching their heads over the decision to extend Ringway’s services.

Deductions totalling £1,187,348 have been made against Ringway’s contract for poor performance against set standards, with more fines pending this year.

The contract, in place since 2012, is worth over £182m and covers the provision of highways works across Hertfordshire. Only last week Shropshire Council announced that Ringway were to be replaced by Kier to manage its highways. Ringway had won the contract in 2011 but had a number of problems.

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst exposed last week that the Conservative council were to recommend that Ringway get an extended contract at the November meeting of the County Council’s Cabinet Panel for Highways. Stephen comments: “I am shocked that the Conservative council want to award Ringway another five year contract, just saying it’s ok because they are improving! There has, on the face of it, been no market testing, something I thought the Conservatives were in favour of. Are there no other highways contractors that are more efficient and cause fewer problems for Hertfordshire’s residents?”

“It is almost daily that my colleagues and I report issues that do not result in fines but are just sloppy jobs or things that are being ignored. One has to think there must be a better choice.”

 

Conservative county council set to agree current highways contractors can carry on for another five years

Opposition councillors at County Hall have been shocked and angered to hear that Herts County Council are intending to extend the contracts of much-criticised highways contractors Ringway for a further five years.

Councillors were informed in a short email sent on Monday afternoon, with the news that the full decision would be made in November.

“This was a bolt out of the blue,” said Leader of the Opposition, Liberal Democrat Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst. “Over the past six years there has been considerable criticism and many justified complaints from residents and councillors about the poor state of our roads and pavements. Despite the poor performance of the highways contractor it seems that Conservative councillors and county council officers are prepared simply to grant Ringway a further five year contract. (more…)

County Council plans for junction of Hatfield Road and Station Way

Note from the County Council

Hertfordshire County Council has been working on a proposal to improve the pedestrian crossing within the existing signal controlled A1057 Hatfield Road/ Station Way junction in St Albans. The objective of the scheme is to facilitate safer pedestrian access to the St Albans Railway Station Complex from the northern side of Hatfield Road. I am contacting you to provide you with an opportunity to give feedback on the scheme.

A pdf of the diagram is here: ITP17007-CONSULT [1]

Let us know what you think!

 

Sandpit Lane closure

Message from the County Council:

I am writing to notify you of the forthcoming Highways Maintenance works due to take place on Sandpit Lane, St Albans.

The works are due to commence on Monday 6th March and are programmed to take approximately 10 Nights to complete.  Given the likelihood of danger to the public whilst the works are being undertaken, it will be necessary to close Sandpit Lane between the junctions of B651 Sandridge Road and  Lemsford Road.

The Road closure will be set up between the hours of 7pm – 5am, the highway will be clear  at all other  times.  The final phase of the scheme will be completed using off peak Lane Closures / Stop Go Boards.

Conservatives vote down Lib Dem proposals to increase highways spending by £7 million

At the budget setting meeting today at County Hall, councillors heard about the Administration‘s  plans to reset spending on roads, pavements, gulleys and culverts back to 2012/13 levels.

This means over £4m million more than spent last year, after a series of cuts in spending over the last four years. They also heard about £3.5m extra Government grant for potholes and fixing pavements.

Liberal Democrat Leader and Highways Spokesperson, Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, said: “Our surveys of residents say that the state of our roads and footways is the number one issue  in the county and Hertfordshire Lib Dems don’t think enough is being d on e to add re ss this. Funding for repairing our roads and pavements needs radical resetting, as any resident can tell by driving their local streets and seeing for themselves the damage and unrepaired faults.” (more…)

Conservatives slash £9 million from highways budgets over 4 years

Local councillors have seized on figures from Herts County Council, showing spending on road and pavement maintenance and improvements have reduced every year over the past four years.

Spending on highways has plummeted from £39.2 million in 2013-14 to £30.1 million this year. This is despite inflation meaning that less can be done for the same amount of money, and the ever-deteriorating state of local roads and pavements.

Cllr Malcolm Cowan, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at County Hall said, “The Conservatives are continually telling residents that spending on roads is going up. These figures, provided by independent and council officers, show that in fact this vital spending has fallen every year for four years.

“The council are forecasting an increase next year. However they did exactly the same this time last year and instead we have seen another fall.

“No wonder local residents are complaining more and more about potholed roads and trip hazards on pavements”.

Note from County Council about closure of Sandpit Lane

I am writing to notify you of the forthcoming Highways Maintenance works due to take place on Sandpit Lane, St Albans.

The first part of this scheme is on-going under traffic signals, however, the works requiring road closures will take place on Monday 13th February and are programmed to take approximately 5 Days to complete.  Given the likelihood of danger to the public whilst the works are being undertaken, it will be necessary to close Sandpit Lane.

The works have been carefully phased and will be split into two separate closures, given the location of each site along Sandpit Lane:

Closure 1: Road Closure of Sandpit Lane between Jct. Marshalswick Lane Jct. House Lane: 9:30am – 4pm to carry out Drainage Investigation, Verge / Tree Works.

Closure 2: Road closure of Sandpit Lane between Jct. B651 Sandridge Road Jct. Marshalswick Lane: 8:00pm – 5:00am to carry out Carriageway Surfacing, drainage and Road Marking works.

Emergency closure of Victoria Street

Message from the County Council

I am writing to notify you of the forthcoming Highways Maintenance works due to take place on B691 Victoria Street, St Albans.

Due to the sudden deterioration of the carriageway surface nearby the Station, it has been decided that these works will need to be completed as soon as possible, to prevent failure of the carriageway besides major disruption to the local area and road users alike.

In addition to this, there have been longstanding issues concerning the signal timings in this area, resulting in significant delays on a regular basis.  In view of that, the Traffic Loops in this area must be reinstalled to improve its performance and will be carried out under the road closure to avoid further disruption at a later date.

The works are due to commence on Monday 13th February and are programmed to take approximately 5 Days to complete.  Given the likelihood of danger to the public whilst the works are being undertaken, it will be necessary to close Victoria Street between the junctions of Marlborough Road / Upper Marlborough Road and Station Way.

There is likely to be congestion in the area whilst the road closure is in place, however,  the works have been carefully phased and sequenced to mitigate delays.  Activities will take place between 09:30 – 15:30  and the highway will be clear at all other times.

Paxton and Lower Paxton: note from County Council

Colas Ltd, are programmed to carry out ironwork adjustments and road marking replacement on the following sites in your constituency on the dates stated:

  • Lower Paxton, St. Albans – 24th October
  • Paxton Road, St. Albans – 24th October

Attached are the Works Information Leaflets which will be posted to the residents of each street, in addition to the distribution maps highlighting which residents will receive these leaflets.

The process is weather dependant which can result in delays. Any changes to the programmed date will be updated on the onsite ‘yellow boards’ and any postponed sites will be marked as such.

More Herts County Council schools nonsense

In what Liberal Democrat Councillors are labelling as a mean-spirited move the Conservative-run County Council has vetoed a move to allow all schools in Hertfordshire to ask for gritting salt to help keep school routes and schools open.

Only those schools more than 100 metres from a County Council designated salt gritting route can apply for free salt from the Council.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst proposed at Monday’s Highways Panel at County Hall that all schools, irrespective of their location, should be able to  get the salt to help them. His plan, backed by Labour, was voted down by the Conservatives.

“This is mean spirited and means a two tier system. Many urban schools in town centres are within 100 metres of a gritting route but the roads and pavements next to schools are not part of that because they are on a side road. This creates a hazard for children so even if the school and parents wanted to help out they would have to find the
salt and grit themselves. That is wrong!” said Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst.

“This is frankly a disgrace especially as the Council has a massive stock and has even been offered free of charge a large amount from Tesco who have an over supply! I am demanding they rethink this refusal. I cannot see any justification for refusing requests from schools for salt to grit the pavements,” Stephen concluded.