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Letter: Cabell Road – Safety Concerns On Subsidence

Published on: 20 Jun, 2013
Updated on: 20 Jun, 2013
Cabell Road in Park Barn where the road formed of concrete slabs requires maintenance.

Cabell Road in Park Barn where the road formed of concrete slabs requires maintenance.

From Les Ames

I write as Vice-Chair of the Park Barn & Westborough Community Association in Guildford.

Yesterday (June 19), at the Guildford Local Committee meeting held in Effingham, I presented Surrey county councillors with a petition from local residents raising serious concerns about areas of Cabell Road that had not undergone recent remedial repairs. Residents identified the road to be ‘in a very poor condition with unstable slabs and uneven surfaces’ and called upon the council to take action.

Deteriorating temporary repairs in Cabell Road.

Deteriorating temporary repairs in Cabell Road.

Cabell Road, in common with many of the local roads built around the same time, was constructed of large concrete slabs on top of a clay sub-surface. Joints between the slabs were sealed with tar to ensure no water ingress between the slabs. Owing to lack of maintenance by the council, the seals have, over time, deteriorated. Water has seeped through and eroded the clay base beneath, creating voids. In turn, these voids have allowed the concrete slabs to move and tilt.

Water seeping through poorly maintained joints are believed to be the cause of the problem.

Water seeping through poorly maintained joints are believed to be the cause of the problem.

Work was completed on about one half of Cabell Road from Barnwood Road to Pond Meadow to remedy this problem in 2012. Unfortunately, the other half of the road has not had the remedial work undertaken. Cabell Road is a busy road and a bus route. It also allows unrestricted access by heavy goods vehicles.

Owing to such traffic the problem of subsidence in the unremedied area of Cabell Road is increasing. Both private home owners and council house occupiers have reported damage to their homes as a result of the concrete slabs rising and falling with traffic movement.

Some homes have had to make internal adjustments to door-frames because the movement has been so severe. This gives rise to concerns over safety in the home. Additionally, the area has two schools, some of whose students and parents use the footpaths adjacent to Cabell Road. When the concrete slabs move the footpath can be compromised and the issues of slips, trips and falls presents to those using the walkways.

The community association asserted to the council that it should look to urgent remedial work for the remainder of Cabell Road to eradicate the problem once and for all. It is the Associations opinion that any delay will only increase the problem of subsidence, will give rise to greater concerns over safety and inevitably lead to a significantly higher overall project cost.

At yesterday’s meeting the council responded by stating they would be undertaking an evaluation of the remainder of Cabell Road by the end of this year. Subject to the cost identified by the evaluation, the work might be carried out next year or, most likely, the year after, or even later.

Whilst commending Surrey County Council for the efforts they made to remedy Cabell Road and the initiatives with other Guildford roads, surely the issue of public safety, in and out of the home, should be paramount?

The Association therefore urges the council to take whatever steps are necessary, and in short order, to remedy the years of neglect of Cabell Road.

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