Dangerous drivers blamed for closure of Brighton road

Posted On 20 Feb 2012 at 8:16 pm

Drivers ignored the one-way closure of a busy Brighton road, leading to several near misses as workers tried to repair a 33,000-volt cable.

Now Ditchling Road has been completely closed between Warleigh Road and Upper Lewes Road and Viaduct Road.

The full closure while the repairs are carried out is causing traffic jams and delays in the area, especially during the morning and evening rush hour.

Dozens of buses are affected – as are people trying to make it to funerals and cremations.

Brighton and Hove City Council agreed the full closure after talks with UK Power Networks which stopped work at the site because of concerns for staff safety.

The council said: “The closure is an extension of the existing traffic management that entailed a southbound only closure.

“Unfortunately road users did not obey the southbound closure and UK Power Networks had several near misses where traffic drove head on at legally driven cars heading north.

“UK Power Networks investigated safer ways of working and decided that only the full closure met their health and safety criteria.

“After discussions with (the council) a full road closure was granted. The negotiations lasted a full week and while ongoing no works could be undertaken on the site.

Police support

“The discussions centred on whether or not another safe traffic management option was available and many thoughts were discounted.

“Police support to prevent road users committing offences was sought and on the day the police were present on site no offences occurred.

“But the resource is not available from the police for the full duration of the works unfortunately. Only the police are authorised to direct traffic in this manner.

“(The council has) asked the police if it would be available if payments could be made for the police presence and this is unlikely but yet to be confirmed.

“If this is an option, negotiations would still have to be had with UK Power Networks regarding payments for an officer so this is not a guaranteed solution.

“The city is gearing up for many events and an increase in visitors as normal and in the Olympic and Diamond Jubilee year we can ill afford a main route taken out while discussions continue and no works occur.

“The works are also causing knock-on difficulties to the Southern Gas Networks mains replacement scheme which will continue in and around Ditchling Road.

“For these reasons the traffic manager agreed the closure to get the works started again.

“UK Power Networks have agreed to put extra workforce on to the site and this will shorten the duration of the repairs but they will still take four weeks to complete.

“(The council) requested night-time or 24-hour working but this was discounted because of safety, support services being available and environmental impact reasons.

“Bus services are severely disrupted and negotiations continue with Brighton and Hove Buses on available options (but) they are very limited.

“(The council) apologises to all for the disruption that is now being caused.”

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