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Update from Connect  Plus

They are contracted by National Highways to "fix" the M4 supports. They appear, via dozens on inter companies to be subsidiaries of Balfour Beatty - a very large construction company.I have been chasing them for updates on the construction and disruption of Windmill Road. Bearing in mind the work was supposed to be finished in May until for obscure reasons it was stopped for the coronation. Apparently the costs of this stoppage are alleged to be £400K, this will be paid for by Connect Plus, no doubt out of the directors' pocket money rather than via the majority of their revenues that come from the UK Taxpayer.When they restarted a few weeks ago they promised Windmill Road would only be closed at night, and the whole works would be finished in November."Thank you for your emails regarding the ongoing M4-A4 concrete pier repairs. Connect Plus Services works on behalf of National Highways and Connect Plus to manage, operate and maintain the M25 and its linking roads, as well as the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing. I note your comments about the closure of Windmill Road and I’d again like to apologise for the inconvenience that this is causing. As you have observed, whilst this area is closed due to work on surrounding piers, we have put in place welfare facilities for our operatives on site. Having facilities in this location means that they are nearby for operatives, therefore negating the need for them to leave the area, reducing the time operatives are away from the site and therefore increasing production. With regards to the possibility of re-opening Windmill Road, we are aiming to have this crossing re-opened by 9 December 2023. Please be assured any change to this date will be communicated to you. We’ve assessed a number of different options here to allow us to speed up the delivery of these works, which included using overnight closures, but have found that working in this way would not be feasible in terms of either working safely, or delivering a suitable standard of repairs. Our works remain on schedule to be fully completed as planned in December 2023, as per the progress tracker sent in our most recent update to you of 29 September 2023. The original date proposed for completion includes a certain amount of delay/risk allowance, this is something that is very common within construction programs in order to allow for any unforeseen risks that may arise. It is due to an unforeseen risk that we have had to carry out additional works to piers. Although initial surveys were carried out previously to determine the level of works required, further areas of delamination were discovered during the Hydrodemolition process used to remove the effected concrete. These areas have increased the amount of works being carried out on some of the piers therefore increasing the duration of completion. Although this has lengthened the time of some of the elements of the program, we have been able to mitigate some of this time by working weekends, installing additional temporary welfare facilities, such as those at Windmill Lane, and increasing resource. This has allowed us to utilise the time/risk allowance and not exceed the overall completion date. Furthermore, I note your comments about the finances involved with the removal of our works in April, in advance of the coronation of King Charles. Whilst I’m not at liberty to discuss the costs in detail, I would like to assure you that this was paid for out Connect Plus’ own resources and not with funds from the public purse."When I'm back from a short holiday I will communicate further to Vonnect Plus. This will include my response here and anything else you would like me to inform them of.

Guy Lambert ● 69d3 Comments ● 68d

For N V Brooks

I remember you raising this, NV, and I have raised it with TfL a couple of times, and finally have a respons:"Thank you for contacting us regarding the traffic signals at the junction between the A4 and Boston Manor Road. An engineer has investigated your enquiry and looked into the operation of the traffic lights at this location. The traffic signals here operate under an automated traffic control system called SCOOT.  This utilises detection to monitor the number of vehicles and then uses the information to vary the green signal time on each approach to the junction.  During our investigation, it was found that part of the detection at this junction is faulty, meaning green signal times on street not being based upon real time traffic demands. While we wait for the fault to be fixed, we have updated the operation of the junction; these adjustments provide a longer green signal time for Boston Manor Road and have been observed to improve queues on Boston Manor Road.The A4 westbound receives a short green signal while all other approaches are held on red. This is to hold eastbound traffic heading into central London in order to reduce congestion and blocking of the junction at Boston Manor Road. If the eastbound was to run for this additional period of green signal time, then it would block the junction of the A4 / Boston Manor Road, preventing Boston Manor Road from moving when it does receive a green signal due to the A4 eastbound traffic blocking back."

Guy Lambert ● 69d3 Comments ● 69d

A fundamental flaw in Hounslow's Parking Strategy

If you look at the two documents that the council is currently consulting in it is hard not to be taken aback by the difference between the rhetoric and the reality.While it is a perfectly laudable aim to discourage car use and encourage sustainable transport measures, this is hard to achieve if you have a huge vested interest in encouraging people to drive which Hounslow does because it operates the largest number of car parking spaces in the borough.These are concentrated in the Hounslow town area which is also very well provided with privately run car parks so there would be a limited impact if the council were to get out of the car park business and bring much needed funds to its coffers by selling the sites for development.However, the 'strategy' is to upgrade the existing car parks and provide more when they deem demand requires it.The kerbside strategy on the other hand is to squeeze space even further with more parklets, EV chargers, bike hangers and cycle lanes. All of these are laudable, and some may even be necessary, but the report acknowledges that there are already parts of the borough where demand for residential spaces already outweighs supply.This includes Chiswick which already has the lowest level of daily car usage and pays more that the rest of the borough put together in permit charges.Chiswick's main car park at Sainsbury's is under continued threat of development and even that provides a fraction of the space available if you want to park in Hounslow. Squeezing further the limited available space will achieve almost nothing in encouraging people to switch modes of transport but will further reduce footfall on the High Road.

Jeremy Parkinson ● 82d5 Comments ● 78d

Forthcoming Community Meetings - 13th and 18th September

Two forthcoming community meetings have been organised by Brentford Voice. The subjects of both meetings have an important bearing on the future of our area.The first will discuss the ongoing consultation by Hounslow Council on the Emerging Brentford Master Plan. It is taking place on Wednesday 13th September at 6.30 p.m. at Brentford Free Church. Boston Manor Road and is open to all.Council officers and their consultants will present the context and content of the Masterplan. There will be ample time to comment on the Masterplan and to ask questions.The following Monday 18th September at 6.30pm there will be a community meeting at the Holiday Inn on ideas for the future of Brentford’s disused railway embankment, which runs immediately to the west of Commerce Road. The meeting is open to all.At the same venue in January 2023 there was a similar event, at the same venue, which was very well-attended. Brentford Voice was seeking the community’s views on whether it should go ahead with the commissioning of a Feasibility Study on the future use of the embankment. The almost unanimous view was that it should proceed.With grant funding from Hounslow Council, Brentford Voice appointed consultants to prepare a Feasibility Study. Adams & Sutherland (A&S), architecture, landscape, and urban design consultants were selected to produce the report. At the meeting on 18 September A&S will present their first ideas. This will be followed by questions and answers and a general discussionAny questions or comments about both of the meetings can be emailed to information is available here -

Jim Storrar ● 92d11 Comments ● 85d