Dowsett Lane road closure

Article by Piers Meyler: The closure, since February, of the main route between Billericay and Chelmsford - used by hundreds people of people each day – has left residents of the small village of Ramsden Heath questioning why it has taken so long to fix.

Highway engineers closed Dowsett Lane in February for public safety reasons following the partial collapse of Tipplers Culvert.

Although pedestrians and cyclists can still cross, drivers are expected to take a four mile diversion to get to the village that is just 500 metres from where the road is shut via Downham Road, School Road, Sudbury Road and Hawkswood Road.

A note from Essex County Council has said they are continuing investigations to establish the full extent of the damage and plans the works necessary.

"This involves liaising with a number of third parties including utility suppliers in relation to services that run close to or through the structure and the Environment Agency in respect of the watercourse," it said.

It adds that technical surveys were planned for April 2017 to support scheme designs.

However Tracey Sabine, who has lived close by for 17 years, said:

"Between 7am and 11pm this is normally like the M25 with people driving between Chelmsford and Billericay – it's the main route between the two places. This problem started in February – why has it taken so long? It's been five months now and nothing at all has been done. They say they need to coordinate it. The traffic still comes down here despite the signs – we had a tractor come down pulling a load of hay. The combined weight must have been about 60 tonnes but instead of turning back he just pushed the concrete bollards out of the way and drove round of the side of the culvert that hadn't collapsed. That is madness."

It has partially collapsed

"People completely ignore the signs. We even had a car transporter that had to turn round - and he could only do it after doing a 50 point turn. Even then the gates to the entrance to the farm where he was pulling in and out of ended up being damaged. Ramsden Heath is just 500 metres up the road but instead we have to take a four-mile detour to get to the same place. If we want to get to the Post Office you can't walk it because that's in Ramsden Bellhouse which is further down."

She said she just wants to get some clear honest answers as to why it is taking so long.

"I appreciate they have to take some time to get it sorted but not this long," she continued.

The latest update from Essex Highways said:

"We have carried out an initial assessment of this issue which has highlighted that we require further information to determine what action, if any, action may be taken."

The county council has been approached for comment.

Article by Piers Meyler, Essex Live

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