Culvert Repairs may have hit a problem

Culvert Repairs
You may remember how back in December 2011 barriers were put along the top of Stert Street.

We learned later that the River Stert Culvert, beneath the street, needed stabilising, and work was done  in March. This picture was taken at the end of March of an entrance used by workmen to enter the culvert from Old Station Yard.

Culvert Repairs

Spike send me a picture of the River Stert entering the River Thames showing that stabilisation work had been completed at the bottom end.

Culvert Repairs
But two months later, in mid June, the barriers at the top end of Stert Street still remain.

Culvert Repairs
The Bus Stop taking people to Abingdon Hospital is still out of bounds. The Olympic Torch could be in Danger.

It is difficult to know what is going on below the surface. It could be just inter departmental financial squabbling, between the County Council and the Environment Agency, about who pays. Or it could be that the repairs are more complicated than those first thought. Or maybe the barriers just need collecting.

13 thoughts on “Culvert Repairs may have hit a problem

  1. Martin Buckland

    Apparently the repairs are, as you speculate, more extensive than could be originally determined.

  2. Paul Sheppy

    Can someone explain (because I don’t understand) how this works?

    I do understand that the work turns out to be more complicated that originally thought. I do understand that this may mean that additional funds are not immediately available – although this began in the previous financial year and the work slowed up within the same financial year. Why is work not begun again at the start of the new financial year (i.e., April)? Are there no contingency plans/funds in place?

    Is the road unsafe? If not, and work cannot restart promptly, why are the barriers still in place?

    Why are roadworks such a low priority? We all use the streets and roads…


  3. Iain

    I’ve had a chat with the officer concerned at occ and can provide an update.

    It sounds like this is a very complicated job which is fundamentally what is behind the length of time this is taking. It is not a budget issue.

    At the risk of over summarising, there was an initial problem. They did some investigation (itself held up due to nesting bats) discovered some emergency repairs. Struggled with access underground. Dug a new access point. Completed some of repairs and started to continue original investigation. Rains came which meant safe access is limited as river level rose and currents increased. As river level drops they can continue survey but don’t yet know what they will find, and how easily they can repair from underground.

    The general policy decision they have taken is to try and work from underground to avoid digging up stert street which would be much more disruptive – which I have to say sounds sensible to me. The challenge is that access and safety conditions underground are both challenging and state of repair of culvert is poor (and not yet fully surveyed) so this could persist for some time to come.

    Sorry this isn’t better news, but hopefully helps explain whats happening (and that I haven’t misrepresented anything in my simplified summary).

  4. Rachel

    My dad was an engineer and one of his first jobs in Portsmouth when we moved there in the late 80s was to repair a Victorian sewer which had collapsed as a double decker bus drove over it and left the bus wedged in a hole.

    This was the start of many of his tunneling adventures all over the country and the development of no-dig relining techniques.

    Work like this is harder than it looks especially with the variable river levels. Closing that area of the road to prevent traffic exacerbating any weakness leading to damage to the road, the culvert and to vehicles is probably a sensible course of action considering the volume of traffic that passes down Stert Street.

  5. Millihelen

    I am full of admiration for the guys who work underground to repair sewers, culverts etc. It is a job that I definitely would not want to do!

  6. John Styles

    So, the barriers are to stop vehicles driving over particularly weak parts of the road that vehicles would essentially be in danger of falling into? Or have I missed something.
    Are those bits really so weak? And more to the point are the bits just the other side of the barriers really that strong?

    And are the enormous holes (e.g. the new one on the bridge) going to be patched before the Olympic torch comes through?

  7. Iain

    Correct about the barriers John. The river stert runs under part (not all) of road and this is tge area barrier-ed off.

    I don’t have any information on bridge street I’m afraid.


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