Weeks of chaos as newly-laid paving is ripped up outside station
TfL apologises as Highbury and Islington commuters face major disruption
27 July, 2018 — By Samantha Booth
TfL’s Thomas Holmes: ‘Sorry for getting it wrong’
NEW paving outside Highbury and Islington station will have to be replaced, a public meeting was told this week.
Transport for London has apologised to residents and commuters for another estimated six weeks of work on the station forecourt as the pavement is ripped up and re-laid.
Residents expressed their dismay at more disruption, which means a pedestrian crossing cannot be restored outside the station.
The news comes just weeks after 18 months of work started on a redesign of Highbury Corner gyratory.
Thomas Holmes, from Transport for London, said on Monday that the authority had been “let down” by a contractor involved in bridge works completed earlier this summer. This is disputed. He told a public meeting updating residents on the works: “At the moment we can already see that the slabs are starting to wobble and they [the contractor] haven’t laid it correctly.” TfL said the paving was laid on a bed of sand, rather than mortar, as specified for highways works.
However, in response to Mr Holmes’ comments, one of the contractors, Hochtief, told the Tribune: “In respect of our contract, the paving works have been laid in accordance with the TfL-accepted drawings and specification.”
The spokesman added: “Some of our works, including paving, have been de-scoped from our contract to aid TfL’s future works to pedestrianise part of the Highbury Corner roundabout and nothing to do with defects.”
Resident Ian Kelly asked how people were supposed to trust TfL with future work. Mr Holmes added: “I think that, although nobody is perfect and nobody can get everything right all of the time, so I appreciate it’s going to cause a little bit of discomfort and again it’s a bit embarrassing for TfL and for the contractor not to have picked this up straight away, but we are going to put it right.
“Sorry for getting it wrong but we are going to get it right this time.”
The re-lay – to be carried out by a new and different contractor involved in the Highbury Corner gyratory works – will not cost TfL anything as it was a contractor defect, the authority said.
The pedestrian crossing is now scheduled to be moved back outside the station by the end of August.
Under the gyratory revamp plans, backed by Islington Council, the western arm of the existing roundabout will be closed, creating a public space. Segregated cycle lanes and two-way traffic will be introduced.
TfL said the current junction had one of the poorest safety records in London, with 13 crashes injuring cyclists in the 36 months up to March last year.
Council officer Martijn Cooijmans, head of economic development projects and transport, said traffic counts would monitor vehicle displacement before looking at options to discourage drivers.
TfL said it was looking into improved street lighting outside the station.