Installing the heat pipe
This will be the most visible, controversial and problematic part of the scheme for local residents and businesses. The pipe will leave the JR grounds at the corner of Sandfield and Woodlands Roads, go along Sandfield to the London Road, along London Road a short distance before turning down Latimer Road, down to All Saints’ Road, along there to Stapleton Road, from Stapleton onto Old Road, and finally down Churchill Way.
Except for the London Road and Old Road, each road will be closed off at both ends when work starts there. There will be ‘secure access’ (I don’t know what this means) for residents and those who need to get in and out. The pipe itself will be laid in trenches dug 120 metres at a time, so the hole in the road will progress down the street. We are promised that access to properties will be maintained at all times, but my impression at the moment is that none of the difficulties have been studied or thought through.
On the London Road one of the three lanes will be closed to allow the pipes to be laid. Two-way traffic will still be able to pass most of the time. Old Road is too narrow to keep two-way traffic, so there will be traffic lights controlling single-file working.
Working hours for the project will be between 8am and 5.30pm weekdays although the contractors have said they may work weekends if the project falls behind.
The work will be going on at at least two places at once. This is to complete the work as quickly as possible, but it brings more problems with two roads being closed at once. The schedule we have at the moment is this (though it might change now everyone can see where the problems might be).
- All Saints’ Road
- closed 4 Jan to 27 Jan
- Stapleton Road
- closed 11 Jan to 16 March
- Sandfield Road
- closed 1 Feb to 22 April
- Old Road
- single file 23 Feb to 13 April
- London Road
- working 9 March to 14 April
- Latimer Road
- closed 21 March to 30 June
As this chart shows, there will be times when Stapleton Road will be closed and Old Road restricted; Sandfield and Latimer Roads both closed with the London Road havinng traffic restrictions, and other potentially horrendous combinations. The schedule seems to have been drawn up by someone with no knowledge of Headington and its traffic problems, and the Trust and the County Council must surely revisit this with the input of local residents, businesses and institutions.