COUNCIL chiefs have come under fire again for a road project after a blunder saw a crossing point put in the wrong place.
A year after Dorset County Council was criticised for wasting money painting a roundabout at Overcombe Corner in Weymouth twice as big as it should have been, the authority has been blasted for spending more than £15,000 installing two crossing islands across Preston Road – including one in the wrong location.
Residents said buses and lorries had to slow down to negotiate a crossing point on the bend as it had been placed too far from the centre. After three days it was removed, and then reinstalled in the correct position on Thursday.
John Liles of Preston Road said: “What a waste of money. You’d think they would have learnt their lesson after the roundabout saga.”
He added: “It was obvious the crossing was lopsided when it was first put in as it was way over towards the other side and buses were having to slow right down to get past. It went after three days and has been put back in a more central position.”
Mr Liles said he didn’t object to the Preston Road scheme on the whole but he didn’t think it would achieve its objective of slowing traffic down.
Work on the crossings just before and after the Melstock Avenue turning began on March 17, as part of a range of improvements identified for the Weymouth Relief Road project.
Chris Hubbard, of Oakbury Drive, was surprised to see workmen installing the islands before removing one of them again, and added: “Whether the islands were necessary was open to debate, but the highways department thought so.
“Apparently the problem was that one of the islands was badly sited.”
John Brooks, also of Oakbury Drive said: “It is going to cause an accident at some stage despite being reinstalled – cars come swerving round the bend.”
County councillor for the area David Mannings said ‘credit must be given’ to DCC for fixing the issue swiftly.
He added: “I know it has cost money to install the crossing islands and to reinstall one of them when it wasn’t in exactly the right location, but an accident could have happened and this has prevented that.”
Other works carried out as part of the Preston Road improvement scheme include a mini roundabout at Overcombe Corner which was painted twice as big as it should have been in April 2013 and was branded a ‘dangerous waste of money’.
Dominic Fitzgerald, project engineer at Dorset Highways, said one of the pedestrian crossings was removed due to uneven lane widths.
He added: “The islands were laid out on site aligned to the white line and surfacing joint, but this did not correspond correctly with the design dimensions resulting in an offset with uneven lane widths.
“To correct this, the island was removed and has now been reinstated as designed.”
The total cost allocated to the project was £15,000, but that the removal and reinstatement work of the island added another £1,000 given the extra labour time involved, DCC said.
Mr Fitzgerald said the project would still come in under budget.
He added: “Two weeks were allowed for construction but the speed of the technology used has significantly reduced this, reducing traffic delays and disruption to the public.”