Residents in the nine landlocked properties on Undercliff Drive, are singing three cheers after a stretch of road, which has been closed to vehicles for the last eight months, has been rebuilt by Islanders.
OnTheWight spoke with Gary Smedmore from Undercliff Glen caravan park earlier today.
He explained the new road appeared at the weekend and now enables residents vehicular access right up to their properties (apart from Woodlands and Fleet House which are stuck between the Eastern barriers).
£2,500 versus £500,000
It’s thought the cost of the new stretch of road rebuilt in the last week was around £2,500 – one 200th of the cost bandied around by the council.
All the council has done in the last eight months seems to be writing reports and holding meeting. In September they finally agreed to spend £500,000 on building a new road from the West and a cycle path through-route, but no work had started.
110 tonnes of hardcore
The section of road that has now been rebuilt was, we’re told, stripped back by two metres before over 100 tonnes of hardcore was used to build the road back up again and tarmac laid on top.
OnTheWight understands that deliveries have already been made to the previously-landlocked properties with a 17 tonne lorry using the road without problem.
Nettles and overgrowth had been left unattended by the authority blocking the stretch of road residents had to walk along. These have now been cut back and leaves along the stretch where properties sit, cleared by residents.
The new stretch of road is now wider than previously and provides a passing-point should residents approach from opposite directions at the same time.
Residents: “Not prepared anymore to just sit back”
Gary, whose business has been completely devastated this year due to being landlocked with only pedestrian access, was kind enough to spare some time for us today to explain what’d happened over the last week.
“We’re not prepared anymore to just sit back, the council have been so lax.”
Now the road has been rebuilt, residents can drive their cars right up to their properties, receive deliveries of winter fuel (oil, gas and wood) and be safe in the knowledge the ambulance and fire service now have vehicular access.
“There’s been a lot of help from the Island.”
Timing of winter repairs
On the amount of the time that’s passed since the landslip occurred at the beginning of the year, Gary said,
“They’ve [the council and Island Roads] had all the dry weather and now they’re going to do the same mistake as last time, start the repairs in the winter.”
Listen to our chat with Gary by clicking on the play button below.
People Power opens road: Video
Given it’s been eight months since the Council closed the road cutting access to Undercliff Drive, it was with no small excitement that we drove along the newly-opened road this morning.
To mark the occasion, it only felt right to video the journey, to share it with the Island.