Fringe Box



Letter: Let Us Know of Problems Relating to Ash Bridge Construction

Published on: 21 Dec, 2023
Updated on: 21 Dec, 2023

The new Ash road bridge under construction

From: David Shaw

R4GV borough councillor for Ash South (whose house is directly opposite the site entrance)

In response to: What It’s Like to Live Near Ash Road Bridge Construction Site

Residents were surprised at the beginning of the school holidays, in the last week of July, when contractors turned up on Foreman Road, opposite Vyne Walk, to begin work on the Ash road bridge.

The decision by GBC to keep the commencement of the bridge low-key meant that residents were unaware of the planned start, unless they were signed up to, and reading the posts, on the Nextdoor app.

The five months since this have been extremely frustrating for local residents with what has seemingly been one issue after another and without clear or satisfactory resolutions to concerns raised for example noisy generators running during the day, in some instances all night and for days at a time.

While we anticipated a certain level of noise and disruption, this is on a scale that we were unprepared for, and very unhappy about. It does feel like the residents don’t matter and that this bridge construction takes precedence over any health, safety, consideration, or well-being of local people.

Inappropriately and thoughtlessly placed floodlights have meant that some residents have had their evenings, and sleep, disrupted by bright and intrusive lighting, night after night. There are CCTV cameras placed on the edge of the site, pointing towards local houses, but residents, quite rightly concerned about their privacy, are still awaiting a response to questions raised about the scope and range of filming.

As autumn arrived, followed by the winter months, the road surfaces have been consistently covered by a layer of mud, deposited by the numerous vehicles exiting the site. A wheel wash was in place and operational for a brief period of time, but blink and you missed it!

We would then watch the lorries drive around it before it disappeared from view altogether. The mud has left cars dirty and sometimes struggling to gain traction, especially when pulling out of Vyne Walk and onto Foreman Road.

Residents’ concerns about this seem to have gone unheard and unnoticed, a reoccurring theme, with one developer blaming another. When will GBC step in on behalf of the residents? This is in breach of the Highways Act about which the team at GBC seems to be unconcerned.

Since the closure of Foreman Road, residents have witnessed confused motorists and pedestrians trying to navigate their way to the station. The signage, which appeared to go up overnight, is poor and confusing and in some places, the arrows only support those trying to reach the station, not those trying to find their way back.

Residents are now finding it difficult to park as commuters are parking in their parking areas and on one occasion, a coach ended up in Foreman Park after following the diversion signs, not to mention the emergency vehicle, with blue lights flashing, that had to turn around too!

With all the extra traffic and construction vehicles now being diverted down Grange Road, residents are regularly commenting on the deterioration of the road surface as potholes are appearing, but there is still another year of this to go, which will undoubtedly be compounded by the fact that contractors have now started to build on another green field in Ash, with the only vehicular access for constructors being via Grange Road.

Trying to cross Ash Church Road has become even more difficult. What is being considered to support pedestrian safety as they cross the road to access the station, local business, the church and schools?

Residents are being repeatedly told to report concerns and questions to Volker Fitzpatrick via a designated e-mail address, but far too often residents don’t get a timely or adequate reply.

My fellow ward councillor Sue Wyeth-Price and I would like those affected to contact us and copy us in to emails sent to Volker Fitzpatrick at so we can check your questions off against our list, to make sure you have had a response, and to check your question has been actioned.

You can also email us at the same address for anything that we can help you with.

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Responses to Letter: Let Us Know of Problems Relating to Ash Bridge Construction

  1. Roger Kendall Reply

    December 21, 2023 at 5:36 pm

    The other two issues on the bridge is that the architects didn’t allow for a drop off point the Aldershot side of the station. It’s on a bend so it will lead to a dangerous situation as cars will still stop there to let passengers alight. There is space for drop off bays but they are not on the design. Allowance has to be made for human nature.

    Second, the plans for the footbridge have not even been produced as far as we know, so it appears that passengers will have to use the pedestrian crossing to get from one side of the station to the other side for several years. At the moment there are ticket machines on one side only. When people are late sometimes they take risks and they are often late in the morning.

    Otherwise it will be great when its finished.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    December 22, 2023 at 12:17 am

    I find this a very odd design of a railway crossing in the middle of a housing area. I had raised before the choice of the form of construction but got no satisfactory reply.

    Importing vast amounts of soil by lorries and building embankments in my view is a bad choice. Such an operation creates problems for the surrounding road network more than that would have been absolutely necessary.

    Ideally the approaches could have been designed as a multi-span viaducts with small earth embankments for the two ends. Alternatively, perhaps a slightly cheaper method would have been at least a three-span bridge with approaches using reinforced earth with precast concrete facing units like the ones used for the A3 Guildford bypass near the Dennis roundabout. This would have required much less importation of soil.

    Both above alternatives would have been quicker to build without the problem of settlement issues of earth embankments and additional cost of remedial works that would most probably be required to reinstate the road profile not to mention disruption and delays that would be caused by roadworks.

    I hope, in future, Guildford Borough Council does not take on tasks that are the responsibility of Surrey County Council. GBC hasn’t the experience of bridge design to effectively manage the design process and to procure a cost-effective and the most appropriate design.

  3. Keith Reeves Reply

    December 23, 2023 at 10:19 pm

    I admire a structural engineer’s enthusiasm for viaducts, however, as a geotechnical engineer I’d note that embankments are more cost effective unless the height exceeds a given limit. This varies, but is typically about 15-16m, clearly much greater than the track to carriageway difference at Ash.

    Settlement of the embankments will be minimal at Ash, given the ground conditions. Any differential settlement will be relatively long term and addressed by routine resurfacing.

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