Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Couple blame sat navs and HGVs for damaging street

A COUPLE from Tokers Green say their street is not able to manage the amount of traffic

A COUPLE from Tokers Green say their street is not able to manage the amount of traffic using it as a rat run.

Peter and Sandra Clee live on Mill Lane, which connects Tokers Green Lane and the A4074, and is a former farmers’ track with a layer of asphalt over the top.

In the last decade use of the road has increased “ten-fold”, according to Mr Clee, 86, who has lived on the road for more than 45 years.

He said: “It’s probably used by 40-to-50 cars a day, before it was only one or two.”

The road is used as a cut through by delivery drivers and builders trying to get to Kidmore End from Reading.

Every few months a heavy goods vehicle tries to use the road. All the vehicles do damage to the road.

Mr Clee, a retired engineer, said: “There seem to be two types of sat navs, commercial and private. All the people with lorries who don’t get given a standard commercial one go out and buy a private one.

“We had a huge Hovis lorry stop outside our house and he was on his own and he had to back out. I stop and ask people and they say that their sat nav sent them down here.”

Mr Clee says this use of the road by these large vehicles is damaging it by creating potholes and wearing away the verges.

He said: “It washes the soil down and then that blocks the gullies so water can’t drain away. It causes piles to be created in the middle of the road and grass growing in the gullies.

“The amount of traffic can vary with the amount of building work going on in Kidmore End. 

“When there is a lot going on in Kidmore End more people use the road as a cut through. There are quite a few problems with it.”

The blocked gullies mean the road floods when there are downpours.

Most of the road is covered by mature trees so the sun struggles to get through for the water to evaporate. 

Mr Clee said: “When I was a younger man I would go down and clear the gullies myself but I can’t do it now.”

Mr Clee says the potholes could also be a problem for cyclists, especially if they can’t be seen because they’re covered by puddles.

He added: “They are all the way down it and if a cyclist hits one of the potholes, someone will be killed before long.”

Mr Clee accepts the road is used by parents getting to Kidmore End Primary School from Caversham but says that is not the real problem.

The busiest times on the road are from 8am to 9am and 3pm to 4pm.

He added: “I don’t blame them otherwise they have to use the long way round to get to the school.”

About six months ago Mr Clee saw four workmen from Oxfordshire County Council inspecting the road. They dug boreholes, with about a 10 inch diameter, along the road.

Mr Clee said: “They were drilling holes to find out what the foundations were like along the road.

“The workmen said the county council was thinking about putting in a new road but they said it could take another six months.

“I told them they were wasting their time and money because this is an old farmtrack. They came down this old gravel road and slapped some asphalt on top of it.”

Mrs Clee, 73, reported the problems on Fix My Street, a website used by the county council to monitor road problems, but received an email saying no work was planned earlier this month.

Her husband says if sat navs could stop sending cars down the street it would help. Mr Clee added: “Before sat navs only one or two people would use the road.”

A spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, said that the road will be left as it is for the time being.

He said: “Mill Lane, Kidmore End has been identified for resurfacing work but is not currently in the list of schemes the council intends to immediately take forward.

“The council will continue to monitor the situation and work will take place at some point in the future.”

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