Rail construction works leave Aylesbury Vale village roads 'in a hazardous state'

Mud continues to cake the road surface and mile after mile of grass verges have been destroyed,' says MP

By Hannah Richardson
Thursday, 30th December 2021, 12:22 pm

Buckingham's MP has let rip over problems caused to local villagers due to work on East West Rail.

Speaking out on Facebook, MP for Buckingham Greg Smith said: "Mud continues to cake the road surface, mile after mile of grass verges have been destroyed by East West Rail HGVs passing each other on narrow country lanes.

"Several stretches of road are now considered dangerous due to the damage caused by East West Rail's construction traffic."

Mud on the road in Steeple Claydon

Mr Smith said residents of Steeple Claydon, Verney Junction and Newton Longville have been hit particularly hard, and that Buckinghamshire Council has been forced pick up the bill.

He said the East West Rail Alliance "has demonstrated a severe lack of urgency when responding to excessive amounts of mud along the roads leading to/from their compounds, in effect leaving the highway in a hazardous state" that threatens the safety of his constituents.

And he added: "Despite what is clearly an urgent and alarming situation, the Alliance has been unwilling to step up the resources needed to deal with it.

"It has therefore fallen to the local authority and my office to clean up after the Alliance, a perpetual burden which is unwarranted, unnecessary, and unfair.

Damage to the verges in Steeple Claydon

"Buckinghamshire Council has been forced to redirect its own resources to dealing with the fallout of the Alliance’s poor conduct."

Councillor for Grendon Underwood, Frank Mahon, said the problems are widespread throughout the Claydons, Calvert Green and Twyford.

He said: "East West Rail are basically leaving the roads in the terrible state - the roads are breaking up again, they're covered in mud.

"Greg Smith is absolutely right in what he says."

But he added: "It's not just East West Rail. HS2 is every bit as bad."

"The problem I've got here is I've got HS2 and East West Rail working in the same villages.

"One's as bad as the other and it's really going downhill."

Buckinghamshire Council's deputy cabinet member for transport, Peter Martin, said: “The construction of East West Rail (EWR) and HS2 has imposed a substantial burden on Buckinghamshire Council.

"The significant HGV traffic has caused damage to our roads, and we are working hard to ensure that our residents do not have to cover the cost of related repairs.

"We have been identifying specific locations and progressing claims for damage and repair directly with EWR.

Repair works to Queen Catherine Road in Steeple Claydon have been undertaken by EWR and negotiations for Ox Lane in The Claydons are ongoing.

"We are also developing modelling work to assess damage and resulting repair claims on other haul routes, so that a schedule of repairs can be agreed before any further roads fail.

"In addition to claiming for specific damage, we have increased the frequency of inspection to EWR haulage routes so that these roads are inspected at least once a month.

"Our trained inspectors and local area technicians inspect these roads for dangerous defects and schedule repairs in line with our inspection policy.

"Dependent on risk and urgency, repairs are either carried out by our own teams or contractors.

“Recently, in response to residents’ concerns, our two marshals have been out inspecting roads, especially around EWR compounds.

"In particular, there have been accumulations of mud on the highway from their vehicles – which EWR have been slow to deal with.”

A spokesperson from East West Railway Company said: "We are aware of comments posted online recently by Greg Smith MP and we take any community concerns very seriously.

"The team at East West Rail Alliance holds weekly meetings with Mr Smith’s office and Bucks Council.

"These meetings have been incredibly helpful so far in helping us to understand and take action on the issues that matter to local people."We have been in touch with Mr Smith’s office about these recent comments."

A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said: “Our priority is to minimise impacts on local communities wherever possible, and we continue to work closely with Buckinghamshire Council to help us reduce disruption for residents near our construction sites.”