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Letter: Moving a Roundabout Could Solve Problems of Ash Level Crossing Project

Published on: 26 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 26 Jan, 2021

The route of the new Ash flyover or bridge. Image GBC

From: Bibhas Neogi

In response to: I Am Working to Remove the Danger of the Existing Level Crossing at Ash

The reason for a near semi-circular alignment apparently stemmed from the consideration that a shorter length would not achieve a safe highway design due to the near-180 degree turn required of the A323.

But with a redesigned location for the southern roundabout, I believe this is possible.

By locating this roundabout further to the east and connecting the A323 with a near-90 degree bend to the roundabout and then a further 90 degree turn at the roundabout would achieve the necessary deflection of 180 degrees.

The local road would connect to a mini-roundabout to the south of this roundabout and access road to the land and the third arm would connect the southern roundabout.

The near north-south alignment of the road would roughly follow the chord of the semi-circle, thus reducing the overall length of the road.

Another consideration would be the use of reinforced earth or tied retaining walls for the approaches to the railway bridge. The embankments at 1:3 slopes take up a lot of land that could be profitably used instead for more housing and other amenities, such as allotments, garden centre, leisure areas and parking etc.

Yet another consideration would be a multi-span bridge to allow roads and cycleways to connect the two sides that would otherwise be severed by the new road alignment.

At least a three-span bridge would be a better choice than a single span bridge shown in the planning application.

A road with footways and cycle lanes could be located under each side span and these would create routes connecting developments on both sides of the new road as well, as pedestrian routes to the railway station.

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test 3 Responses to Letter: Moving a Roundabout Could Solve Problems of Ash Level Crossing Project

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 26, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    It’s about time that senior experts in their field like Mr Neogi were given conversation room in the planning process. The youngsters coming up with new ideas could learn a great deal, at no cost to their pride, after all, it is well known you only start learning after you have left university.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 2, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    I have searched the Planning Application (19/P/01460) for alternative routes examined but did not spot any.

    It is possible that the route I have suggested has been examined but not progressed due to constraints that are not explained or evident in this application.

    Assuming this is not the case, a shorter route, with other modifications I suggested, should be explored as savings could be substantial – of the order of £4m to £5m in construction alone, There are also other benefits difficult to quantify in financial terms.

    I believe the proposed route requires widening to satisfy visibility criteria whereas a near straight alternative would not require any widening.

    The use of earth embankments in my view is not the option to go for as large quantities of suitable fill material has to be imported using the existing road network. This is environmentally damaging and should be avoided.

    Questions have been raised about traffic from Foreman Road having priority over the A323 at the southern roundabout.

    The alternative location and arrangement that I have suggested may avoid this by including a dedicated on-slip lane at this roundabout. In addition, local traffic between Foreman Road and the access road to the development area would be kept out of the circulation on this roundabout.

    I hope there is still time to go back and review the proposals and the Planning Application unless there are compelling reasons for progressing the project as planned.

  3. Bibhas neogi Reply

    March 8, 2021 at 11:13 am

    I was expecting some comments from those interested in this scheme or dismissive arguments from its designers and Project Managers about my suggestions of a possible saving of around £5m. Have they nothing to say for or against the alternative that I suggested?

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