The KRA having received the update below, asked Cllr Jeff Harris if a commencement date has been scheduled and has been advised that the works on the logistics site will start in the New Year, with the rest following on.
M25 Junction 8 – A217 Major Roadworks – Update for Residents
On Friday 4th October I met with representatives of Highways England, Surrey County Council Highways, the Project Management Team and the Contractors for the Project.
I’m pleased to say that I was accompanied by Crispin Blunt MP, County Councillor Zully Grant-Duff who with me represented residents and the communities affected. County Councillor Bob Gardner was unable to attend, but I had discussed the issues with him previously.
The headlines for the Project are:
- Major works are urgently needed to the bridge over the motorway as the structures waterproof membrane is now defunct and this is causing damage to the concrete.
- The signalling equipment is now 20 years old and in danger of failing completely.
- The ‘pavement’ (road surface) is now breaking up beyond just simple re-surfacing.
- The current ‘three’ lanes across the bridge section are just too narrow to take larger vehicles. This makes matters far worse for A217 traffic north/south.
- Vehicles block the entry/exit points from the bridges causing further tail backs.
- The tail back from the Western section (anti-clockwise exit) often encroaches onto the Motorway with the significant danger of serious collisions.
- The current ‘trunking’ Duct under the bridges across the motorway holding all the utilities is full to capacity with water, gas, electric, phones, etc. There is an urgent need to increase the capacity for such services as Virgin Optical Fibre Broadband services.
- The current exit onto Gatton Bottom Lane is too narrow and poorly designed.
- The exit onto Wray Lane/Gatton Bottom Lane has an adverse camber which is dangerous.
We do however note there are actually some benefits for local and Surrey residents coming out of this and they include a safer junction, better traffic management, new road surfacing and signage –all of which we would have had to pay from local taxation.
However, the main outstanding issues for us, representing the communities, included:
- The commencement date. This has now been put back until after the Christmas trading period for Reigate Town Centre. BUT……..
- The Project could now last upto 50 weeks, even allowing for 24/7 working at times. This obviously takes it up until Christmas 2020-but hopefully it will finish well before.
- The Access/Egress onto the A217 from the Site Logistics Base. We discussed and Highways England/Contractors explored the suggestion, to move the entrance onto the M25 ‘off slip’ from the Clockwise carriageway, but this is not feasible for engineering reasons, and would be very costly.
- HGV’s travelling round the Reigate one-way system and back up the hill. In fact the number of HGV Lorries using the entrance/exit will be no more than 2 per hour, ( We are now satisfied that this actually increases the HGV movements in the Town Centre by about 2% during the first and last months). During the project there is actually very little HGV movement affecting the Town Centre.
- Closures of the Junction/lanes on the bridges – timing. This is all about expediency and safety of workers. The periods of closure are in two parts – nearside working and offside working, and then full reinstatement of the waterproofing and finally road surfacing-which will be guaranteed for 10 years.
- The elongated diversion for several weeks for vehicles exiting the M25 anti-clockwise and wishing to go down the A217 for Reigate, having to travel north round the Babylon Lane Roundabout and back to the M25. We discussed any options to change this, bearing in mind the amount of traffic between 7.30am and 9.0am weekday mornings travelling south along the A27-we challenged their ‘modelling’ on this and pointed out the impact on Lower Kingswood, Kingswood and Tadworth residents. There just doesn’t seem to be any alternative, but the Project Team agreed to increase signage, information and monitor it so the traffic signals at the Motorway can be adjusted. We did ask that ALL those affected, including schools and businesses are kept up to date. There will be a comprehensive Communications Plan.
- Where possible 24/7 working will take place, but obviously it’s not possible throughout the Project period.
- Despite our suggestions there are no plans to place a controlled crossing point for cyclists, pedestrians, Horse-riders, etc, at the bridges junctions. This was considered by Highways England originally and disregarded. This decision is unchanged.
We were satisfied at the end of the meeting that Highways England and Surrey Highways had considered our reservations from the last meeting, and in some cases changed their plans to accommodate them, or given far more information which negated the comments made.
In summary, there is no question that the Project needs to go ahead, quite urgently, and despite all our reservations, we agreed the least harmful ways of working are being used, and it is clear there are some benefits for Surrey and local residents.
We will be keeping a close eye on developments and letting residents know of any updates in the meantime.
County Councillor – Chairman Reigate and Banstead Local Committee.
5th October 2019