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Who is actually responsible for the management of the works in Highbury Place?

04 May, 2018

• I COULD not agree more with what Roy Prentice, (Station forecourt missing one thing – a larger vision, April 27) and Jonathan Bowers, (Highbury Corner: will traffic be worse after these years of misery, April 27).

On Friday, for instance, I made a trip around the barriers at Highbury Place and can’t help but notice that each time I go round this work in progress the pavement area is smaller.

The pavement between the old bank in Holloway Road and the kerb line is now barely wide enough for one person to walk along it. Why?

Apparently, they now need to lay nice-coloured, studded paving stones between the kerb line and ordinary paving stones at that location.

Also, I notice that part of the road surface there is barriered off so that it can be used for parking machinery needed for the drawn-out process of relaying the pavement so that Highbury Place will no longer be used as a vehicle access onto the roundabout.

This area is also used as an uploading point for materials being delivered. Why can these items of plant and deliveries not be parked and delivered in Highbury Place?

Who is actually responsible for the management of these works? Whoever they are, they don’t seem to be capable of overseeing this job and getting it done. Why else does it seem to be dragging on for ever and a day? Still, this is Transport for London for you.

Another example of this apparent mismanagement is the electrification of the railway line between Gospel Oak and Barking, where they still have to raise the bridge at Crouch End to allow for the wires.

Why the hell was this not done when the line had its closure? Surely, somebody could have measured the distance between the span of the bridge and the rail surface and say that this is what the height is and we need so much clearance between the underside of the bridge and the top of the train to put the overhead wires in place.

This is not rocket science, but being able to make measurements and work to them. In the bad old days of British Rail, it had an electrical engineers department, which could design, cost the job and oversee the contractors.

Both parties, British Rail and the electrification contractor, had teams of engineers who knew what they were doing. They could move from project to project and keep the skills for doing this kind of work in-house. But no, this was too simple.

No wonder these jobs go over-budget and time. A good example of this has been the electrification of the former Great Western main line out of Paddington station. There have now been two schemes – the first when the service to London Heathrow was put in and now the extension of wires for the Elizabeth line.

What a mess up. I sometimes wonder if the people who plan and manage these schemes are actually capable of this work.

Clissold Crescent, N16


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