Following quite a few complaints from residents, I contacted Surrey Highways requesting a statement on their decision to upgrade the traffic lights at the A240/London Road traffic lights whilst the Beggars Hill/Kingston Road was closed and traffic diverted along the A240 – causing congestion and delays in recent days. I have been telephoning Surrey Highways since Monday, but the telephones of the relevant highway officers repeatedly went to answerphone and my requests for a return call were not answered. I only managed to speak to the officers this morning (Thursday) at which point I requested the written statement reproduced below.
I am not happy that Surrey Highways assumed that Sutton and East Surrey Water would complete the works in Beggars Hill/Kingston Road to time, and that the go-ahead was given for the traffic lights to be replaced without checking with the Water Company first. It is matter I will be taking up with the NE Area Highways Manager.
Full refurbishment of the permanent traffic signals on the A24 Ewell Bypass at the Organ Crossroads was identified as necessary due to the age of the equipment. In order to carry this refurbishment out, it has been necessary to decommission the permanent lights and control the junction using temporary four way signals whilst the works are undertaken.
Permanent traffic signal installations have in built programming that enables junctions to run efficiently often sensing traffic flows, allowing contra flows across the junction and frequently have slip lane functionality. Temporary traffic signals cannot emulate this functionality and hence disruptions to regular traffic flows can be experienced. The complexity of the junction combined with the traffic count directly affect the disruption level.
Sutton and East Surrey Water began works on the Kingston Road in Ewell in January this year to install a new water main along the length of the road from the junction with the Ewell Bypass to the junction with the Chessington Road.
During the installation of the new main, Kingston Road was closed due to the lack of available carriageway width to be able to carry out the works and keep passing traffic at a safe distance. The connection of services from the main into properties commenced immediately following the main installation, an activity possible under two way temporary signals. These connection works being planned to continue through to the 9th of October.
Whilst appreciating the adjacency of the Kingston Road to the Organ crossroads, it was felt that the temporary signals at each site would not adversely interact, consequently the refurbishment works on the A24 were permitted to commence.
On Monday of this week we were made aware that Sutton and East Surrey (SESW) had re invoked the closure of the Kingston Road, a clause in the original closure notice allowing this to happen, the effect being to remove the option of this route to avoid the By-Pass works resulting in increased levels of congestion.
I have this afternoon been informed the refurbishment works are complete and the A24 junction is returned to normal functionality, however we will be discussing the situation with SESW to understand the communication breakdown and also reviewing the implications when refurbishing major signal controlled junctions.