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10:34am on Wednesday, 8th June, 2005:

Co-ordinated Roadworks


Here's a map of Stanway, taken from Multimap:

Stanway is a village that was absorbed into Colchester some time ago, although many of the people who live there still harbour delusions that it's not a mere Colchester suburb (and, furthermore, that the area most of them live in is indeed Stanway — it's actually Beacon End). Stanway sits between the A12 (the green road at the top), Shrub End (bottom right), Prettygate (right), Lexden (top right) and Copford (off map to the left). West Bergholt, where I live, is about 3 miles away to the northeast — roughly the corner-to-corner diagonal distance of this map.

When I want to go anywhere at this side of Colchester I basically arrive at point A. Let's say I want to go to point B, which is the junction that opens up all of Shrub End. I did indeed have to make this journey yesterday, as a result of having my car scraped when a stationary concrete fencepost crept past me unnoticed while I reversed down a long driveway last Friday.

Normally, I would go via Tollgate Road to point C then head off east down Blackberry Road, past Fiveways, then pick up Straight Road at the end of Peartree Road. I could then follow Straight Road along its non-straight part, and end up at B. Unfortunately, there are road works at junction C that are so bad they can back traffic up all the way along Tollgate Road. Blackberry Road traffic can reach back as far as Fiveways.

OK, not worry! From A, I can turn left at the first roundabout and follow London Road (the red one) to the north end of Straight Road at point D. Well, I could, but as of this week they're installing new traffic lights there. The traffic backs up in all directions as a result.

This leaves me a final option of taking Chapel Road/Winstree Road, which is the yellow road connecting London Road with Fiveways via point E. This road is actually open, in the sense that it doesn't have roadworks. What it has instead are speed bumps and a monster construction site where they're building an extension to Stanway School (which, as a piece of trivia for you, is where Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon out of Blur first met). Thus, travelling down Winstree Road is an adventure in itself.

Why do they (the people who give organisations permission to dig up roads) not notice problems like this? If there had only been roadworks at C, or only been roadworks at D, it would have been fine. Why did they have to have roadworks at C and D simultaneously? Augh!

Stanway School is, incidentally, the secondary school for which West Bergholt's primary school is a feeder. The bus to take the kids there doesn't come in at A, however, it comes in at B. The reason for this is that buses can't run south out of West Bergholt as the road there is prone to flooding in Winter. Even if it weren't, the usual car route (up Argent's Lane) is single-track; the bus would have to go up Chitt's Hill and wait 10 or 15 minutes at the level crossing (I once counted 6 trains go past before they opened it — then they closed it again before I could get through and I had to watch another 3 claim their right of way as I seethed). So for the bus to get to Stanway, it has to go into Colchester then come out again — driving right past another school as it does so.

Fortunately, my younger daughter got into the Gilberd School (where her sister goes), otherwise she'd have to put up with this nonsense.

Hey, two rants in one!

Referenced by The Net Closes In.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).