Readers may like to know that I researched the extended bridge repairs at Six Hills Way some weeks ago, when the delays first became apparent. The highway authority, Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) are resonsible for the work and I obtained the facts from them.
Essentially, the bridge, which was originally built by Stevenage Development Corporation (SDC) is almost 60 years old now and was not safe to be left unrepaired.
Unfortunately, the technical drawings and specifications passed on from SDC are inaccurate and not consistent with what the engineers discovered when they uncovered the structure. It was not possible to know this until seeing what they were presented with, which had to be after work started. This has resulted in the extension by many weeks to the original intended time scales and also consequent disruption to traffic, buses and others.
Highways contracts rarely include penalty clauses for the contractor in case of delay for exactly this sort of reason. If they did, it would no doubt substantially increase the cost of such contracts to the council taxpayer.
The important point now is that there are a large number of such bridges/underpasses in Stevenage, mostly built around the same time by the same SDC. Before long, they will no doubt need repairing as well. I hope that in future HCC will be prepared for great inaccuracies in the records from SDC, will budget closure time scales accordingly and will not be caught off guard by the poor record keeping of SDC.
It seems that the real culprits here are not the current day engineers, highways managers or even politicians, but the (unelected) SDC personnel of 60 years ago who (conveniently for them) have long since retired!
Liberal Democrat county councillor for Chells Division on HCC and borough councillor for Manor Ward on SBC