Spalding roadworks and failed rail barriers had residents trapped

Road block one: Barriers in the down position on Hawthorn Bank.
Road block one: Barriers in the down position on Hawthorn Bank.
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Spalding residents were held prisoner in their homes by Anglian Water roadworks and faulty Network Rail barriers for several hours on Monday.

Residents of Ambleside Drive and a section of Hawthorn Bank are now asking what would have happened if emergency vehicles had needed to get to a patient with a heart attack or a house fire.

Road block two: the Anglian Water roadworks.

Road block two: the Anglian Water roadworks.

Cars couldn’t get in or out of the spot because both routes were blocked, which also meant some residents found themselves stranded on the wrong side of the railway tracks and unable to drive home.

Christine Bodal Hansen said on Monday: “Hawthorn Bank could have been a disaster area today.”

She said Anglian Water had a huge hole in the road, with no workmen in sight, while railway barriers “were flashing red lights and going up and down many times and eventually stuck down”.

Ms Hansen continued: “It was the end of the school day – many mums and children on the wrong side of the railway track.

“Luckily the emergency services did not need to gain access to this area or a house could have burned down or someone could have died of a heart attack.

“Why was this dangerous situation allowed to happen.”

Ambleside Drive resident Andrew Dobney said level crossing barriers failed at about 3.45pm and weren’t functioning properly until 6.30pm-6.45pm.

He said: “People were either imprisoned in their own homes or unable to get home from work.”

Mr Dobney talked to three or four neighbours and said they all thought it was a disgusting and dangerous situation.

He said: “It would have been terrible if there had been an emergency because people would not have been able to get out, but then again the emergency services would not have been able to get in.”

Ms Hansen said signs near the Anglian Water roadworks said work was due to start on May 28 and go on for one week.

A huge hole in the road was surrounded by metal barriers to stop through-traffic, leaving Hawthorn Bank level crossing as the only point to enter and exit from homes in Ambleside Drive and a few properties along Hawthorn Bank.

Network Rail has had huge problems over many months with level crossing barrier failures in Spalding, including Hawthorn Bank, and questions are being asked about why the double road block problem was not foreseen.

The company has admitted it was an axle counter failure – one of many – and it failed again on Tuesday.

Anglian Water says its workmen left the roadworks at 3.30pm but would have stayed to allow emergency vehicles through if the barriers had failed while they were there.

A spokeswoman said on Tuesday: “If the level crossing barriers had been failing whilst they were on-site they would’ve made every effort to make sure access was maintained for emergency vehicles whilst the crossing was out of action. If customers have concerns or queries regarding our work they can contact us via facebook, twitter or we are available 24/7 on 03457 145 145.

““We’re sorry for the disruption our road works on Hawthorn Bank may have caused. We are repairing a sewer pipe, and in order to keep our team safe, we had to close the road, in agreement with highways.

“Due to other works going on in the town our works were postponed and began on Wednesday, June 1. They are due to be completed tomorrow (Wednesday, June 8). We appreciate that any road closure may be disruptive and we are grateful for our customers’ patience whilst we complete this essential repair.”

A Network Rail spokesman said on Tuesday: “We are sorry for any distress caused to residents in the Hawthorn Bank following an axle counter failure which occurred yesterday.

“While we aim to get engineers to site as quickly as possible to repair such faults, on this occasion the team were involved in a separate incident nearby, meaning it took slightly longer than usual to complete the repair. However, the incident occurred again today (Tuesday), resulting in the component part being replaced entirely which we are now confident will fix the issue.

We apologise for the disruption caused to those living or travelling through the area.”

A spokewoman for county highways said Anglian Water’s work to replace a failing sewer had to be carried and it was set originally to start in half-term to lessen disruption.

“It was programmed in with as little disruption as possible,” she said. “There was no other way round it.”

Previously ...

Spalding becoming no-go area after rail barriers fail for a third time

BREAKING NEWS, 12.45PM: Rail barriers working in Spalding after 44 minutes stuck

Bad Friday sees Spalding come to a standstill

Has Network Rail ended the level crossing barrier misery in Spalding?

Railway barriers gridlock Spalding