Repairs to Oxford Road, Bagley Wood
Oxford CC Highways Dept gave a briefing to local Parish councillors on 1st August 2014.
It was announced that repair work on the collapsed causeway had begun earlier in the week and will cost about £1 million.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the road should be re-opened by early December which is about 11 months after it was closed.
The Highways Dept has managed to shave about 2-3 months off the normal time required to plan such a large project. Altogether there were seven possible options to consider.
The adopted plan provides for the digging out and reconstruction of over 60 yards of the embankment primarily on the east side. The first stage of the work will involve the construction of two new drainage systems to catch water from the north and south banks of the valley (see map below) and prevent it from undermining the embankment in the future. Shear keys will then be constructed in the side of the embankment to strengthen it and reduce the likelihood of future collapse.
The major construction stage will last up to 12 weeks. This will be followed by the replacement of gas and water services over the following 4-6 weeks. It is hoped that the major fibre optic cables, which run on the west side, can remain untouched but this is an identified risk factor which could cause delay. During the final 2-3 weeks the road itself will be rebuilt to the original profile and resurfaced.
The causeway across Hangman’s Bottom just south of the hotel is presently thought to be stable but is being closely monitored using various detection devices. If it starts to shift again, for example during heavy rain, this should be detected quickly and any necessary repair should not involve closure of both carriageways together.
On a slightly less encouraging note:
The Bayworth – Sunningwell road repairs, due for this summer, have been postponed to the autumn as a result of “other priorities”.
The Highways Dept has been asked that some of the worst potholes be patched in the meantime and there seems to be a chance that this may be done at least!
The finished road just before it was re-opened on 20th December
Report Pot Holes!
There is a simple to use Oxford County Council web page which you can use to report potholes. It seems to work, as those reported recently have been fixed quite quickly! Try it for yourself: OCC Pothole Page and follow the links or try going straight to the interactive map which allows you to specify the exact location by clicking on the map and then describe the type of problem below.
Road Repairs – Enquiries have been made of the County Highways Dept regarding the state of the road between Bayworth and Sunningwell which is in very bad condition. They have advised that they are planning to undertake major repairs to the road between the bottom of Bayworth Lane and Sunningwell. This should embrace all significant pot holes. It is likely that the road will need to be closed for a short time and the work should be completed in the next 8-12 weeks. Following this it is necessary to allow the repairs to settle and then, next year, the same section is scheduled to be resurfaced. Similar resurfacing is also scheduled for Foxcombe Road from the top of Kinksey Hill and the top of Bayworth Lane. Both these sections of road are being used as an alternative to the closed Oxford-Abingdon road. (but see updated report above).
Closure of the old Oxford – Abingdon Road
The project management team of Oxford CC Highways Dept, who are tasked with rectifying the road collapse in Bagley Wood, gave a briefing to local Parish councillors on 23rd April. (see also updated report above).
Oxford CC Highways Dept photo looking North. (The collapse has become worse since this was taken).
As most local residents know, just before Christmas the road suffered a serious subsidence along the causeway crossing the stream which runs into Cow Hall Bottom just north of Bagley Wood Sawmill. The present bank was constructed well before the World War to standards which would not fully comply with current design standards and which may not have fully catered for the springs and water courses which it crosses. Detailed survey work, including bore holing, has been undertaken in order to identify the full extent and source of the problem. The very high rainfall last year is likely to have contributed to the failure and the causeway continued to move well into this year. The field survey work is due to be completed shortly and a feasibility report will then be prepared. It will then be possible to propose firm solutions and have the options placed before the Council. In the interim, more secure fencing of the danger area will be erected.
(Map extract from Oxford CC web site with my annotations)
There are several potential options depending on how badly damaged the bank proves to be. One possible solution would be to build up the bank on either side to provide shallower angles and so that there is a much broader and hence more stable base. The road runs through designated ancient woodland, owned by St John’s College since 1583, which needs to be protected from undue damage. Oxford CC is working closely with St John’s College to facilitate the repair work. Work will also need to be co-ordinated with providers of various mains services which run beneath the affected area; this is quite a significant issue. Temporary fixes have been made to the 10” water main which burst and a gas main has leaked and had to be diverted. Most problematic of all are the six BT fibre optic cables which carry a massive data flow of national significance and cannot easily be severed without vast cost and many months of additional delay. The embankment repair work is presently estimated to take about four months and cost in the region of one million pounds. The construction will inevitably involve significant earthworks which cannot be undertaken during winter months. There is a possibility that work could begin in late summer / autumn this year and every effort is to be made to achieve this. However, depending on the recommended solution and the requirement for a winter shut down on earthworks, the start may need to be postponed until spring 2014. In this case the road would not be expected to re-open before about August 2014.
There are also indications that there may be a similar failure developing across the small stream running into Hangman’s Bottom immediately south of the Westwood Hotel. This is one of a number of embankment sites in the county that are being monitored using specialist instrumentation. At this stage the Highways Dept do not consider there is an immediate requirement for additional works to be undertaken.
Some local residents have enquired about the currently suspended Abingdon-Oxford bus service which stops at the top of Hinksey Hill. It is understood that Stage Coach have declined to provide a re-routed service via Hinsksey Hill. Bus operator Heyfordian has agreed to accept Stagecoach bus passes on its No.44 service, to give passengers an alternative option.
Route 44 bus timetable (via Boars Hill)
- There are buses from Hinksey Hill to Oxford at 07:40, 10:07, 12:47. 14:47, 16:17 and 17:27.
- Return buses from Oxford at 08:15, 11:15, 13:50, 15:00, 16:30 and 17:40.
- The last two buses in each direction operate Monday to Friday only. The others on Mondays to Saturdays.
The above report represents a summary of my understanding of the issues, further information is available on the Oxford CC Highways web page.