Forest of Dean commuters face more misery as A48 to be closed next month
The A48, a vital route connecting the Forest of Dean and Gloucester, will be closed next month when it is given a new lease of life.
The county council has received lots of requests asking for improvements to be made to the crucial county road.
It is acting on feedback by sending in highway crews to strip out 3.3km of damaged road over an 8km stretch of highway then lay down 3,050 tonnes of brand new surface in its place.
The material being used – hot rolled asphalt with pre coated chippings – is the most durable road surface available. However, larger machines are needed to lay it which means the road needs to be closed so work can be completed safely.
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Work begins on 7th October, and to reduce disruption to local residents and businesses, will be carried out in three separate phases:
• Silver Fox Cafe to the railway under bridge at Broadoak, Monday 7th to Friday 11th October
• A48 Awre Road junction in Blakeney to A48 Two Bridges Road Junction, Monday 14th to Friday 25th October
• A48 Awre Road junction through Blakeney village to end of 30mph limit, Monday 28th October to Friday 1st November
During these dates the section of road being worked on will be closed from 7.30am to 5.30pm, with all local businesses remaining open as usual.
The A48 will be fully open all evening and during all weekends during the working period.
The county council has worked with local bus companies to help reduce disruption as much as possible for bus commuters too.
Stagecoach will be operating a special shuttle service serving Blakeney and Newham, see Stagecoach website for further information. In addition some school services will leave fifteen minutes earlier in the morning or be served by a minibus picking up at revised locations. School pupils are being informed of any amended services directly by their bus operator and school.
During works a signed diversion route is available from Lydney via Parkend, Cinderford, Littledean and Elton Corner.
Vernon Smith, Cabinet member for highways and flood said, “This is probably one of the biggest resurfacing jobs our crews will be undertaking this year.”
“It is never easy to close such a crucial road but the road is in much need of repair. We have been asked time and again to make improvements here, and that is what we are doing.”
“This is good news. The A48 is getting a brand new, improved surface meaning it will be in a better condition for years to come.”
Richard Leppington, County Councillor for Blakeney and Bream said, “This work is necessary and it’s a sign of the county council’s commitment to invest in roads in the Forest of Dean.”
“The A48 is the main trunk road in and out of the Forest of Dean and it is vital for local businesses there is investment and improvements in local infrastructure.”
“We are sorry for any disruption but highway teams are doing all they can to minimise this.”
Brian Watkins, Local Highways Manager for Gloucestershire Highways explained the reasons behind the selected working hours, “We had considered working outside peak commuter hours, but this is a big scheme and doing that would extend disruption for local residents and businesses by a further eight days.”
“When closing a road we try and balance the often differing needs of local residents and businesses with that of commuters. Working from 7.30am to 5.30pm to get the job done as quickly as possible is the best approach here.”
“All local businesses will be open as usual throughout the works, and we will be erecting ‘businesses open as usual signs’ to highlight this.”
Local businesses and residents have been written to or visited to inform them of the work.
Brian Watkins explains, “We have visited local businesses to make special arrangements for deliveries, and are writing to residents informing them of the improvements that are being made and when.”
“We will have crews on hand on site at all times during working operations to help local residents and businesses. Access will be maintained at all times to the local doctor’s surgery too. Please bear with us. The end result will be worth it.”