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  • Work starts on the A40 Abbey Way flyover Structural improvement and resurfacing work begins on Abbey Way flyover, High Wycombe, on Monday August 18.

    A series of structural inspections and investigations between 2011 and 2013, Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) identified the flyover parapets were not structurally sound enough to withstand a collision. So the road was reduced to one lane in each direction to reduce the risk of vehicles hitting the parapets.

    Work - including installing safety barriers, new high kerbs, and resurfacing - will give the flyover another 20 years life, and takes account of future developments in the High Wycombe Town Centre Masterplan. Once the work is done Lily’s Walk will reopen to two way traffic.

    Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Transport said that longer term plans to improve the environment of High Wycombe town centre meant an expensive over-investment in a structure with a limited lifespan was not a viable solution. The planned work, he said, was a good, affordable short-term solution and would improve the immediate situation.

    Works comprise the following:

    Abbey Way - eastbound: A semi-permanent barrier will be installed, closing lane one permanently. Lane two will be resurfaced and lane one will undergo a 'slurry seal' thin layer surface treatment to reduce water penetration.
    Abbey Way - westbound: High containment ‘Trief’ kerbing will be installed along key lengths to protect the weak parapet and lane one and two resurfaced. The safety barrier will be extended.
    Lily’s Walk: The traffic signals will be reinstated. High containment ‘Trief’ kerbing will be installed along both sides to protect the weak parapets and the carriageway resurfaced.

    The work, which will also help alleviate some water leakage through the structure, starts on August 18 and will be complete by the end of October.
    Temporary Traffic Management During Construction

    Abbey Way: Work will generally be done during the day and one lane in each direction will remain open to traffic. Up to 15 individual overnight (9pm to 6am) closures of one carriageway at a time will be required, during the week only, to allow resurfacing to be done. Dates will be advertised in advance, and a diversion route will be signed.

    Lily’s Walk: The road will remain closed during the work and a diversion route will be in place.

    Buses: During the work, buses will be running on usual routes.

    Mark Shaw, Deputy Cabinet Member for Transport said: 'It has taken some time to develop a satisfactory programme to guarantee the safety of road users using the flyover, while ensuring we aren't wasting money on a structure with a limited life. I am happy that we have reached a suitable outcome and look forward to the work being complete in October.

    'I apologise for any inconvenience that has been caused up till now, and through the forthcoming works. Hopefully we will be able to keep a relatively free-flowing road throughout the day time works. There may be some disruption to road users overnight on occasions."
  • Future of public transport under the microscope A two-day inquiry hearing into public transport provision in Buckinghamshire has heard evidence from more than 30 contributors representing a wide cross-section of the community.

    The hearings (on Thursday and Friday, July 24, 25) are a key part of the County Council's cross-party Environment, Transport and Locality Service Select Committee's examination gauging aspirations for public transport towards 2020 and beyond.

    Set against the background of continuing public sector austerity which is putting pressure on budgets, the inquiry aims to enable the County Council to match its future support for public transport more efficiently and effectively to the needs of communities.

    Select Committee Chairman Warren Whyte explained how the hearings would help the inquiry examine what public transport needs to look like in the future.

    'The evidence given over these two days will help us to understand what's there at the moment, how people's needs are being met, and how those needs are changing and likely to change over the next five years and longer,' said Mr Whyte.

    'It's emerging from the evidence that Buckinghamshire has a complex mixture of public transport – much more than we appreciated,' he said.

    'There's a huge amount of community-led activity, and we greatly appreciate volunteer effort across the county. However, we're beginning to see gaps that need to be filled, and these appear to be related to age – both young and old – and to mobility.

    'And it's very clear the difference between town needs and rural needs rules out one-size-fits-all solutions,' he said.

    The Select Committee will examine the two days of evidence during the coming weeks to decide where more information is needed, and which groups and individuals still need to contribute.

    'Our aim is to be in a stronger position to target support much more effectively to ensure a sustainable and affordable public transport network in a time of increasing financial constraint,' said Mr Whyte.

    'We need to answer the big question about our current public transport support: "If we were to start all over again, would it look like this?".'
  • Grass cutting - how it's done in Stewkley The County Council is holding discussions with parish and town councils across Buckinghamshire about the possibility of them taking on a number of village maintenance tasks, as a devolved service from the Council.

    A number of individual towns and parishes have already taken on self-delivery of such services in their own community. Stewkley is a good example of the benefits that devolution of services can bring.

    In 2013, Stewkley was used as a pilot for a new way of delivering some local services. The Stewkley Enterprise Agency was set up; a not-for-profit social enterprise, which enabled the parish to provide both local employment and an enhanced quality of service for the villagers. The service they provide includes, grass cutting and strimming, minor hedge cutting, weed spraying and road sign cleaning.

    People, young and old from the community directly benefit from the experience they have gained, and are also paid employees through the scheme.

    Each employee works approximately 80 to 100 hours a year, and their work ranges from carrying out the actual maintenance work through to administration, health and safety assessments, and dealing with customer feedback. The team enjoy their work and take in pride keeping their village in tip top condition.

    Five parishes have just signed up to become a cluster with Stewkley, meaning that each village will now have services provided in the same way by the social enterprise. This means that each of these villages will now receive the same benefits. Swanbourne, Mursley, Drayton Parslow, Stewkley and Stoke Hammond will all now benefit from the new arrangement.

    In the south of the county, a similar agreement has been made with Amersham Town Council for parishes in the area to arrange for services to be carried out on their behalf. Gerrards Cross, Chenies, Little Missenden and Stoke Mandeville Parish Councils benefit from grass cutting, vegetation clearance, tree maintenance and graffiti removal as part of this arrangement.

    Ruth Vigor-Hedderly, Cabinet Member for Transportation said: “Devolving services to the local community is a great opportunity for parishes and clusters of local communities.

    "The way that Stewkley has set up their arrangement, and the Amersham agreement as well, are such good examples to other parishes who are considering joining in with the scheme."

    The County Council has delivered a series of conferences in order for all parishes to have the opportunity to ask questions about the proposals.

    The next stage of the devolution project will see more clusters of Parishes join together for greater flexibility and the benefits of collaboratively working together that this will bring.