Latest on the Emergency Gas Works

I wrote the following to the relevant department at the Council this morning:

“1. I am receiving a number of complaints about work not taking place for a majority of the day e.g. workers gone by 4pm.  If true, this gives a terrible impression when the works are meant to be emergency.  I would like a briefing on what hours are being worked and why they cannot be longer in these circumstances?
2. I received a call this morning stating that all of the lights were red and this was causing chaos.  The person who called me had already contacted the police.  I also reported this on ext 2222 at around 08:12am this morning.  Please let me know what happened to that call and how quick the problem was resolved.  I would also like to know what caused it?”

I received the following prompt response this morning:

“We have had the following update from TFL in response to other complaints this week, which addresses some of your concerns, although not all.
I take your points below regarding the difficulty of putting diversions in place.  I can report that having had RTS ‘tweak’ some of the phase durations on site today traffic along Harlington road is flowing significantly better than it was yesterday.  A London buses representative was on site monitoring the flow this morning and afternoon and reported that the wait duration during peak time was down to 18 minutes from 45 which, although still very long, is a huge improvement.

We have now excavated around the leak entirely and temporarily stopped it.  The details for the special kit to be made have been passed to the company who are manufacturing the repair kit tomorrow and I have booked them for Thursday morning for its installation.  The kit utilises a fluid substance that requires 5-6 hours to solidify and this time must elapse before the hole is back filled.  I have agreed with our reinstaters that they will be on site at 4pm on Thursday to back fill the hole and we intend to tarmac it on Thursday night.  This would enable site to be cleared early on Friday morning.

Until the repair kit is fitted there is no work that we can do on site.  I appreciate that a vacant site is frustrating for members of the public but due to other ongoing work load I will not be able to maintain a site presence tomorrow.  A team will inspect the site, excavation and trench support at the start and end of their shift tomorrow as part of our normal procedures.”

This afternoon, I received the following:

“I understand you have received the information update from National Grid on Wednesday which explains why the operatives are not on site at all times. They are waiting for the specialist repair kit to be made. It is frustrating for the general public that they are experiencing huge delays and unfortunate that they are seeing the site is unmanned, in some circumstances the Utility has no option but to leave the site unmanned. It may have been useful for National Grid to display a courtesy board to explain exactly what is happening. I have responded to the complaints received this week to explain the circumstances and the majority of people who complained were happy with the information given but stated they did not see a courtesy board although the area inspector has been to site on a daily basis and confirms there are courtesy boards on display. 

Regarding the temporary lights failure this morning – The contractor notified the company – Road Traffic Solutions – as soon as they were aware of the failure. There was a fault on the temporary lights; apparently the lights will default to red until fixed and they were fixed at 10.55am.

National Grid is in contact with the area inspector and will inform him of any change to the proposed completion on 21.10.2011.”

When I complete, I will request that the Council, TfL & the National Grid determine some Learning Points for similiar situations in the future.

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10 Responses to “Latest on the Emergency Gas Works”

  1. Mark Savage Says:

    Thank you so much for all the trouble you have gone to on this, Mark. Whatever other gripes I personally may have had with your opinions and policies in the past, you always excel in getting prompt results- and answers- on big issues like this, even providing information where the statutory undertakers fail.

    Personally, I think that TfL Major Streets Division’s management of this junction and attendant works over the years has been an absolute nightmare, and it’s a pity it can’t be brought back into Hounslow’s control, like the A244 which of course crosses the junction. They frequently seem to have had no idea of local conditions.

    I’m sure you’ve even heard the rumour about them having blundered with the no right turn restrictions at that junction, i.e. that they were actually enacted on the wrong part of the junction! Whether that is true or not, I know not, but the fact is that the dangerous part of the junction is turning right from HRE into Hounslow Road, not from Hounslow Road into HRW or left from Hounslow Road into HRE.

    Indeed, not that it would probably have helped much, but one does wonder why on earth the restrictions on turns at the junction could not have been removed during this emergency and similar ones which seem to happen all too frequently. It would certainly help matters immensely.

    Once again, thanks for all you’ve done and reported, and let’s hope it’s improved by tomorrow, for good.

  2. Graham de wey peters Says:

    Yep , i concur with Mr Savage , good effort Councillor …..

  3. Jill Garrow Says:

    Thank you Mark, this has been extremely helpful. I use this route to and from work, and your blog was the only place I could find any information – until Hounslow Council followed suit. I trust these works have now been completed?

  4. Jill Garrow Says:

    Hi Mark again! Thank you for the info on the gas works disruption because I had been taking another route to avoid them.

    You can imagine my surprise – when I was driving home this evening – to discover roadworks at the intersection of Staines Road where the unfortunately named Faggs Road turns into Harlington Road East. Thanks to these roadworks two lanes had become only one. It was about 6.45pm, and there were men on site. There were no courtesy boards – nor any information of what they were doing or for how long.

    • Mark Bowen Says:


      Thank you for letting me know about this. I did not notice anything at 7:30pm at the same location (I assume you meant ‘Harlington Road West’?) but will ask questions later today.


  5. Mark Savage Says:


    As an amusing aside, I’m not sure that the descendants of Mr Fagg, who owned farm land along the present road named after him, would call it unfortunately named! Spelt out it looks inoffensive anyway, although I suppose there can be rude connotations when spoken.

    On the subject of the works in that area, though, I did mean to report this to you, Mark, on Monday night; while driving to Tesco Duke’s Green, I noticed some large plastic pipes and other items clearly suggesting imminent works, on the service road which runs on the eastern side of Fagg’s Road either side of Central Way. Indeed, there were no courtesy boards or warning of forthcoming works, but I anticipated more problems.

    It seems to reflect a general problem- or chronic discourtesy- with contractors on our local roads when works are being undertaken. Another spot I have frequently noticed this is at the junction of Hanworth Road, Hounslow Road (station bridge) and the High Street.(B377/A244). I have noticed several occasions when works have taken place at this junction, either in the evening or on Saturdays or Sundays, but with no prior warning.

    This is often a very busy junction, much like Feltham cross (A312/A244) and it would be very helpful to drivers to have advance warning some days in advance. If this cannot be provided, at least a sign ahead of the works on the Hounslow Road side, ideally by the park, would save drivers from what has sometimes been a long queue over the station bridge. Also in these circumstances, why cannot the no right turn restrictions at Feltham Cross be temporarily removed to enable drivers to take an alternative route (e.g. via Harlington Road West and then to Bedfont Lane, or for through journeys to the other end of the High Street, Bedfont Road).

  6. Jill Garrow Says:

    I have two Marks to reply to!

    Mark #1 – Cllr Bowen – I await with interest what information you can glean on these latest roadworks. They look ‘long haul’ unfortunately. There are some courtesy boards displayed but only showing what we can see with our eyes – that there are roadworks, and we are losing one lane. It would be helpful to know what they are doing, and – more importantly – how long they are going to be.

    Mark #2 suggests TfL are to blame, but Richmond Council [certainly under the new Conservative administration] makes sure courtesy boards are displayed – even on TfL roadwork sites – so at least we know how long disruptions will last. It is appalling that these obvious courtesies are ignored, and how long does it take to communicate such information?!

    And thank you Mark #2 for the info that Faggs Road is named after a real-life Mr Fagg. I take your point that the word sounds worse when it’s spoken, but there are a variety of phrases using ‘fag’ that are somewhat derogatory. I shall use one now – I can’t wait to see the ‘fag end’ of disruptive roadworks in Feltham. I think the real problems have come from British visitors to New York who call cigarettes ‘fags’ when – to American ears – ‘fag’ is short for something else concerning the male of the species. As George Bernard Shaw said: “Two nations divided by a common language”!

  7. Jill Garrow Says:

    Thank you, Mark.

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