Hemel Hempstead resident calls for rethink of road closures causing 11-mile diversion
Hertfordshire County Council says the road closure is essential to allow the work to be carried out safely
A man in Hemel Hempstead has criticised the thinking behind planned road closures which cause residents an 11-mile diversion.
David Fawcett, who lives at the Swan end of Box lane, wants Hertfordshire County Council to reconsider the full closures which started on Monday, January 17.
The works taking place along Box Lane, Bovingdon and the A4251 London Road, in Hemel Hempstead are essential gas replacement and maintenance by Cadent Gas.
Hertfordshire County Council says the gas main is under the road, so Cadent need to dig through it, and this can't be done safely with the road open.
Works will take place between the junctions of Box Lane and Fishery Road and HCC has confirmed the Box Lane road closure will be 24/7 until February 21.
The official diversion route is: Box Lane; Chesham Road; B4505 Chesham Road; Lye Green Road; B4505 Eskdale Avenue; A416 Broad Street; A416 Ashley Green Road; A416 Chesham Road; A416 Chesham Road; A41 and A4251 London Road.
David said: "I don't mind the diversion, but I know a lot of older people won't drive, especially in the recent conditions we have had.
"I know one lady had to pay £60 to get a taxi to go and get her vaccine, because she didn't want to drive down the roads on the diversion.
"The problem is that some people in the council don't realise how busy this road is and don't see the closure as being a massive problem, but for many people it is.
"I think the whole closure is unnecessary.
"We have been misled from day one about these works, untrue communications from Herts County Council which firstly promised resident access and then it turned out that this was not the case.
"There has been flawed major decisions made, with no feedback to local people.
"If the concern is for workers safety, why not lift the closure when they finish working at 6.30pm.
"There were other options that could have been looked at by the council, instead of the full closure.
"Our lives have been disrupted every day over the past few weeks unnecessarily."
A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “The works along Box Lane, Bovingdon and the A4251 London Road, Hemel Hempstead are essential gas main replacement works being carried out by Cadent Gas.
"Our job as highway authority is to make sure that these works can take place safely with the minimum disruption.
"Unfortunately, the gas main is under the road, so Cadent need to dig through it, and this can’t be done safely with the road open.
"We appreciate the inconvenience and delays this will cause in the local area, but if we don’t allow Cadent Gas to undertake these replacement works now there will be an increase in emergency repair works, which will have a wider impact on the Bovingdon and Hemel Hempstead area, and potentially the loss of gas supply.
"Our Network Management Team will be working closely with Cadent Gas throughout these works to ensure that any issues are dealt with fairly and that the outcome is the best one for the local residents.”