Wednesday, 27 February 2008

From the Herald Express

This appeared in the paper today. I have cut some of it out as it got a bit long but the long and short of it is the road will open next week some time to two way traffic using only the seaward side of the duel carrigway. Providing no one parks or even stops on this section of road it should be fine. There are bus stops there but I would hope they all get bagged as we say in the trade.(A black dusbin bag is taped over the flag). The problem for the Princess Theatre is there will be no where for the coaches to drop patrons of and usually there is lots of parking space near the theatre in the evening. Big headache for some one to sort out. The other big problem is the cost. Let's hope the mayor wins the lottery.

Now read on.

SHOCK WALK

27 February 2008

Torquay's main seafront road may not be back to normal for months and the repair bill for Rock Walk could top £1million, it emerged today.Geologists were today assessing the danger of unstable rocks on the cliff face with deputy mayor Kevin Carroll admitting: "It does not look good."Fears have been raised that the gardens and the full carriageway may not reopen this summer while expert repair work is carried out.But Torbay Council has said the extent of the problems won't be known until the geologists have conducted their survey, and they are keen to have the road reopened as soon as it is safe to do so, with two-way traffic using the seaward lane.

Experts using climbing gear raised the alarm over a section of the gardens near the Torbay Hotel after a closer inspection earlier in the week.It had been planned to open the seaside lane in one direction from Torquay to Paignton yesterday as the tree clearing work comes to an end.Now the council is hunting down strong barriers to be erected along the length of the central reservation past Rock Walk to protect traffic. This follows a rock fall last week at the Torbay Hotel end of the cliff face.Deputy mayor Kevin Carroll said: "It is a lot worse than expected. People's lives come first."It looks very bad, especially at the Torbay Hotel end.

The contractors are not letting anyone work in that area. You can see parts of the cliff face are unstable and I am shocked by what I saw."If there is a problem we have somehow got to deal with it, regardless of cost."We have agreed £2.25million of borrowing, but that was also to do the illuminations and Princess Pier. Maybe we will have to look to the government for support."At least now we should know the extent of the problems, I can't imagine what would have happened if we had not cleared the cliffs and there had been a rock fall on to traffic below."The tree experts and the contractors are worried."We have stripped it back and we have uncovered what is wrong and we have got to make sure the repairs are done. I want to see us push on as quickly as we can, though we don't yet know if we will be able to open the landward side of the road for the summer. It is going to take longer and it is going to be a lot more expensive."We won't know that until we get the geologist's report."He added: "What can we do? We cannot put people's lives at risk. We need to get barricades in as soon as possible to secure one carriageway and open up one side of the road to get the links with the town re-established again."Shopkeepers and the residents will be up in arms, but we can only do what we have to do."

He said traffic flow arrangements may have to be looked at around the area outside the closure.Cabinet member councillor Chris Lewis said: "This is extremely disappointing as we had hoped to open the seaward side of the road yesterday. However, we have had several rock falls occur during the works and there are serious concerns that if more should occur it could reach across both carriageways."Therefore we have no choice but to keep the road closed until suitable specialist barriers can be sourced."

Devon Tree Services expect to finish their work by next Wednesday and tomorrow are bringing in a large grinder which will chip up the remaining debris.

Angry traders affected by the Rock Walk road closure are calling a meeting to fight for a cut in their business rates bill.The Torquay harbourside businesses had believed they would qualify for a rebate because they claim trade has come to a standstill while the main seafront road has already been closed for a month.

Footnote.
On the Herald Express web site there is a space for readers to leave comments. To read the comments, and there were 29 last time I looked click here.

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Notes about the blog. Updated 08 March 2008

Not much is happening at Rock Work now. All the work clearing the trees has been done. A barrier has been erected to prevent rock falls from reaching the road. Now we wait for the geological survey in May to see what can be done to fix the rocks in place.
After that when work starts again later in the year I will post more photos.
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