I thank Coun William Webb for his lengthy reply to my letter in the Guardian regarding the above.
If the problem of Peppermint Junction is one that he is “committed to unlocking”, I would have expected that the estimate he originally gave of £1.5million would have been more than a “rough estimate” and that his team would have already worked up a provisional design for this roundabout.
Perhaps herein lies part of the problem. I would have hoped that any competent highways department would have a file full of standard designs for roundabouts, which, by the miracle of computer aided design, could be overlaid on the drawing of the specific junction, thus revealing exactly what alterations to the existing road layout would be necessary.
Perhaps this is not the case and the wheel is re-invented for each project! Does Councillor Webb think that developers design each house from scratch? Any large developer will have a number of standard designs and will simply arrange these on each site, throughout the country, as they see fit, thus design costs are spread over many houses. If road building projects do not make use of standard designs, and thus benefit from experience, they should do wherever possible.
I would also query a number of his suggested costs – has not traffic modelling been done already? Is a feasibility study necessary? What public consultation? Land purchase – as there is a long and wide run off from the A17 Holbeach direction, I would have thought by judiciously “kicking” the junction the only extra land necessary would be perhaps a small amount of grass verge. Finally construction costs – for the roundabout itself the simplest would be a painted circle, the next stage up from this would be a circle of kerbstones which would not require foundations as deep as a house!
A house has to withstand different stresses to a road, and has a higher technology content (plumbing, central heating, lighting, power), and thus I do not consider my analogy to be totally false.
I have been contacted by others since my original letter was published, and the consensus seems to be that a very nice roundabout could be built for £500,000.
Could I suggest that Coun Webb challenges his highway engineers to provide a roundabout at Peppermint Junction for a maximum of £500,000, and to do so quickly before more accidents are caused, and more time and money lost.
Gedney Drove End