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Burghwallis Welcomes the Tarmac Gangs

The tarmac guys have been spreading the good stuff around Burghwallis, but we still live in a patchwork quilt of roads.

Government and local council cutbacks have instigated a never ending cost cutting cycle of patching, potholes and questionable short term repairs. The cost of a time proven ‘decent repair’ takes a significant bite out of the repair budgets. If we compare the repairs to Abbé’s Walk, comprising of redressing to the first half and patching to the second half of the mile long stretch of road there has been two separate approaches. The resurfaced dressed stretch almost immediately became corrugated. The ripples in the surface resembles the Australian outback where untarmaced roads suffer from an effect induced by traffic starting to bounce causing every increasing depressions in the dirt roads. Abbé’s Walk has proven that you can induce the same effect in tarmac if you get the mix wrong.

The good old days when council highway inspectors would observe the laying of road repairs have long gone. The contractors have lost the referee. Still at least we have a repaired road which now has a self limiting speed limit. It’s a tad jaw rattling to go over 40mph, unless of course you are in a delivery van.

The second phase of the repair to Abbè’s Walk involved the patching gang. Here the procedure to grind out the damaged tarmac, apply a tar sealant around the edge of the new infill tarmac and the existing road surface is complete. It leaves a neat finish which protects the repair from water ingress which then freezes in the winter and lifts the edges up to destroy the repair. A total of 49 different size repairs were completed along the 1/2 mile section that will hopefully last at least a decade.

This efficient repair compares to the awful job along Scorcher Hills Lane. This involves the chuck a bit of tarmac and whack it flat type “repair”. With a life expectancy of a couple of months if not weeks many of the repairs involve 10 patch lumps over the years in a single pothole. We can only hope that global warming will melt the tarmac to flow into the cracks and set to form a smooth surface. And did you know that Scorcher Hills Lane was originally known as Scorching Hills Lane – leading to Scorching Hills Wood?Not a lot of people know this or indeed need to.

Burghwallis Road and Lane now have edges 2 feet wider than the carriageway as our buses squeeze past each other or other road users. But the best indication of highly suspect road repair in our area is either the A1 new rerouting around Ferrybridge; remember they had to close this new road a month after it opened to relay the tarmac. But the real cock up is perhaps the A639 to Pontefract. This road originally built by the Romans was extensively repaired some 15 years ago and failed almost immediately as the new drains sunk causing dips in the carriageway that creates a magnificent roller coaster ride. For over 55 years (to one correspondent’s knowledge) the bumpy road has been an irritant to Alton Towers and Blackpool who have tried to emulate this free ride – without success. It has even been known to induce a birth, several days before it was due, according to that same correspondent. The volume of traffic currently diverting to avoid the A1 repairs at Darrington have exacerbated the fault. So if you want to give the kids a free fairground ride try the road to Pontefract. There is no rush it will probably be still available and even more pronounced when they take their grandchildren along it.

Of course it goes without saying that the ‘real big issue’ is the grand scheme from 1994. The Department of Transport held local meetings to announce the grand plan. The introduction of a new section of the A1 from Ferrybridge to Redhouse. Motorway standard no less, straightened carriageway, new intersections with conventional slip roads, new bridges at Wentbridge and Darrington ( the ones they have just had to repair). And then ……..nothing, apart from closing some lay-by’s and the continuation of mishaps that jam the road twice week to earn the accreditation of being one of the worst sections of the A1.

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