Councillor responds to Stevenage roadworks criticisms
- Credit: Archant
A councillor has responded to criticism claiming he has been “unaccountable” for a series of roadworks delays.
Terry Douris, chairman of Hertfordshire County Council’s (HCC) highways and waste panel, was criticised by Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor over a series of delays at the Six Hills Way roadworks site.
The works to build a new bridge were originally due to be completed in September but the road – which is currently shut between Shephall Way and Valley Way as a result – is not expected to reopen until mid-December after the completion date was put back three times.
The Comet has now spoken to Cllr Douris, who was unavailable for comment last week after Cllr Taylor said he had refused to attend a public meeting on the matter.
“Of course I completely understand and empathise with the frustration of people who have to use this route on a regular basis,” said Cllr Douris.
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“No-one wanted these works to last as long as they have, the council and the contractors included.
“Perhaps in the future it would be better to under-promise and over-deliver. We may have raised expectations too high by saying the works would be finished by September, leading to the inevitable upset.
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“I think we could have better communicated with the public about these issues and the reasons for them, probably through better use of our traffic information signs. We understand people’s concerns and we don’t pretend to get it right all the time. I would like to apologise to everyone who has been inconvenienced by these delays and assure them that the council does not take these matters lightly.
“We have learned a great deal from this experience and we will put those lessons to good use in the future.”
Chief engineer Keith Harwood from contractors Geoffrey Osborne Ltd said: “The biggest problem with this job has been not knowing how the original bridge was built. I have no idea what happened to the records but Stevenage Development Corporation, who were in charge of the original works, doesn’t exist anymore so we had no indication of the problems we encountered.
“All weather-dependent work has now been completed so we don’t have to worry about rain slowing us down. A lot of what we have to do now is finishing touches such as road markings and barriers. There’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be finished by the middle of December.”