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Updated: New Year’s Holiday Emergency Roadworks in Shalford Causes Traffic Chaos

Published on: 5 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 8 Jan, 2022

King’s Road closed off at Shalford for power cable repair work.

By Cecilia Taylor

Emergency roadworks to repair a high voltage cable fault in Shalford caused traffic chaos, jams and long delays over the New Year holiday. The works led to local criticism of the way they were managed.

Tuesday (January 4): Temporary barriers still in place by Kings Road, Shalford where emergency repairs to power cables caused traffic disruption.

One local resident, feeling that the problem could have been foreseen, expressed frustration. He said on the Shalford Village FaceBook page that the original problem occurred on December 24: “…there had been water leaking into the armoured cabling at the pedestrian crossing and at 2.30 on Christmas Eve the path/road ‘exploded’ up causing a power outage for some of Guildford and Shalford for an hour or two.”

Utility company UK Power Networks attended to the cable on December 30.  Bright orange double barriers were placed to cordon off the pedestrian crossing blocking the Kings Road end of the A248, adjacent to the cricket pitch in Shalford.

A diversion sign pointing to Chinthurst Lane, was positioned and traffic was directed to turn right through Poplar Road ultimately leading to the A281.

But the diversion did not appear clear to some of those dealing with the incident. One affected motorist told The Dragon, “I asked a policeman which way I was meant to go and he said he didn’t have a clue.”

A sign stating emergency works would continue until January 7 was displayed.

In the apparent absence of any formal warning or information about this major road closure, a resident posted on the Village Facebook: “Kings Road is shut from pedestrian crossing in front of Snooty Fox. Road is dug up. Poplar road is very busy as cars trying to get to the main road.”

Map of Shalford showing the location of roadworks and diversion route. Google Maps

Matilda, an NHS worker, who lives in Chinthurst Lane, left for work to find her route had been closed and no alternative, said on social media: “The congestion on Poplar Road was awful but it was the only route available to me, there were residents’ parked cars, this meant heavy traffic build-up whilst waiting their turn to pass.

“The queuing traffic spilled onto the A281 causing gridlock. With no warning of the roadworks and ensuing diversions, there seemed to be no traffic management or cones to prevent parking at the end of Poplar Road and Chinthurst Lane, it was dangerous, a commuters’ nightmare.”

Motorists approaching Shalford from the east were unable to use Kings Road to reach the A281 but had to use a diversion route via Chinthust Lane.

Another resident, Tanya, said: “It was dangerous queuing on the A281 waiting for traffic to exit Poplar Road so things could move – however, irritated drivers behind us started to overtake and nearly drove into cars exiting Poplar – it was quite a shambles and I’m surprised there wasn’t an accident, I nearly got out of the car to direct the traffic!”

Cllr Matt Furniss

On December 31, SCC councillor for Shalford and  Cabinet member for Transport, Matt Furniss (Con), posted on Facebook: “As you know the King’s Road is currently closed near j/W [junction with] A281 for UKPN immediate works and causing some local problems.

“Surrey Highways has spoken to UKPN, and road should be re-opened on 1st January 2022.”

A spokesperson for SCC said: “The diversion was decided by UKPN’s traffic management company at the start of the works, then reviewed by a SCC officer on site.

“The diversion route was found to be suitable as it used the same class or higher class of road, ie the B2128 to Cranleigh, then B2130 to A281 back to Shalford.

“It was found on site that some drivers were avoiding the official diversion and were using side roads instead, so we requested extra signage to try and stop their use and minimise local disruption.

“As these were emergency works the focus was on getting to the site ASAP to fix the problem and help minimise disruption for customers who were without power so advance notice wasn’t possible.

“SCC is always keen to work with utility companies to minimise disruption for our residents. In this case, regular discussions with UKPN helped ensure works were completed five days ahead of schedule”

And asked when damaged verges will be repaired and who will pay, he said: “UKPN will complete an inspection shortly to identify any defects or damage. Reinstatement costs will be covered by UKPN.”

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Responses to Updated: New Year’s Holiday Emergency Roadworks in Shalford Causes Traffic Chaos

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 6, 2022 at 12:42 pm

    I came across a similar situation in New Inn Lane on Boxing day. I haven’t a clue what the unattended road closure was for.

  2. Georgina Grant Reply

    January 6, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    I was caught out by these roadworks driving from Wonersh to Shalford. It would have been helpful if a warning had been given indicating vehicles should use the Bramley turning to access the A281. Similarly, those coming from the Chilworth direction could have been directed via Wonersh. This would have prevented many of the vehicles from having to use Poplar Road and causing the ensuing chaos.

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