STAFFORDSHIRE County Council has provided an update on roadworks that are taking place on a frequently-used dual carriageway in the Moorlands. The A521 in Blythe Bridge is currently partly shut as works on land adjacent to the road are being completed by contractors from housing developers St Modwen Homes, with one side of the carriageway completely shut while one lane on the opposite side open as part of 'Phase One' of the plans. A second phase will see “the complete closure of the opposite side of the carriageway for seven weeks with two lanes open eastbound i.e. traffic leaving the A50,” while phase three signifies “four weeks with three-way traffic signals and lane closures.”
On Staffordshire County Council’s website it states that during ‘Phase Two’ of the developments “one lane west-bound to be opened to traffic from December 16 to January 9 whilst works have ceased for the Christmas shutdown to aid traffic flow for local residents.”
At a recent Forsbrook Parish Council meeting, councillors raised concerns about the progress of development, agreeing to write to the county council to ask for an update on the works.
Speaking to the Times and Echo, a spokesperson for Staffordshire County Council explained that it “oversees” the works taking place on the A521, but that St Modwen Homes uses its own highways contractors to carry out the developments.
James Bailey, Staffordshire County Council’s head of highways, added: “We have worked closely with the developer, St Modwen Homes, and its highways contractors to minimise disruption, keep traffic flowing as much as possible and ensure the scheme is completed as quickly as possible.
“Their contractors have been working since around 7am and, despite heavy rainfall on occasions, are on track to finish the scheme as planned.
“We are also pleased that one lane of the west-bound carriageway will be open from December 16 to January 9 to help people travelling over the festive period.”
Also on Staffordshire County Council’s website, in answer to a ‘frequently asked question’ on the page referring to the works: “Why can’t you work faster or around the clock?” the authority said: “Working around the clock would cause significant and unacceptable noise disruption to residents and we also understand the local concerns about the impact a full closure would have on Blythe Bridge and the surrounding areas.
“Engineers have managed to come up with a proposal which will keep the A521 partially open much as possible.
“This means the scheme will take longer to complete but will ease congestion for nearby residents.
“We will be working closely with the developer to make sure the work is done as efficiently as possible, with its crews working six days a week to get the job done as quickly as possible.”
The Times and Echo contacted St Modwen Homes for a comment on the works, but at the time of print, had not yet responded.
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