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Roadworks begin ahead of HS2 construction

Roadworks begin ahead of HS2 construction

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Jasmine Rapson at 3:27pm 2nd August 2018. (Updated at 6:58am 3rd August 2018)

Roadworks taking place in the Chilterns ahead of the construction of the controversial HS2 tunnel have already sparked fears over the future “viability” of schools and businesses in the area.

Investigation work is currently underway on the A413 near Amersham as HS2 teams asses the structure of the road before the main construction of the Chilterns section of the high speed line begins next year.

However, Conservative councillor for Chiltern Ridges, Patricia Birchley, said the preparations are already causing problems in the area – and fears it will only get worse when children return to school in September.

Part of the dual carriageway approaching Amersham has been reduced to one lane, with a speed limit of 50 miles per hour.

Speaking at a meeting of Bucks County Council on Thursday, Cllr Birchley said residents have been “kept in the dark” over plans to reduce the impact of construction on the busy stretch of road.

She said:

“There are already a number of construction sites along the A413. The dual carriageway towards Amersham is down to one lane.

“The main construction I understand doesn’t start until July 2019. But many rural businesses and rural schools are extremely worried about their future viability.

“One parish council has thought about putting forward a request for no more rat running – but the A413 doesn’t have an obvious relief road anywhere near it.

“The general public are quite in the dark as to what the county council’s plans are to try and keep that road moving, because we all know at present once school goes back it will be full at eight in the morning.”

The 15.8km long Chiltern Tunnel will start just inside the M25 south of junction 17 and come out northwest of South Heath.

Work is expected to start in late 2019 – and two tunnelling machines, each two football pitches long, will be used to do the digging.

The two roundabouts on the A413 that connect Link Road from Great Missenden, Frith Hill and A413 to Amersham will be redesigned with lane widening to make space for general and construction traffic.

Leader of BCC, Martin Tett, admitted “it will not be easy” for residents and businesses across the county while the section of HS2 is being constructed, adding work will have a “significant impact”.

However he said council teams are “working very hard” to identify ways to alleviate the impact of construction when tunnelling work eventually begins.

He said:

“They are trying to assess the structure of the soil and so on, so that work will cease and those cones will be removed. But beyond that in terms of when the tunnelling actually starts – I am not going to try and hide this – where work takes place that will have a significant impact.

“I know we have a very dedicated team of officers who are working very hard to mitigate impact of that construction work to the greatest extent possible.

“But I am not going to pretend to anyone here that it is going to be easy for the residents or businesses of the county while HS2 is being constructed.”

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