Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Bob Jones

We've lost one of our own today. The first Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, Cllr Bob Jones, died overnight. He was just 59. 

Bob was a fine PCC - competent, fair and knowledgeable. He was also a good man. For a busy guy, he managed to find the time to come over and visit us here in Acocks Green - he was out here on election day in May this year.

He will be much missed by his own family, but also by the West Midlands Labour family. You don't get many like Bob and we were lucky to have him.

My thoughts today are with Sarah and his family. 

Work on the Warwick Road

You may have noticed some road works starting along the Warwick Road from Dudley Park Road towards the city. These are spot improvements to help cyclists and pedestrians, with new road markings and build outs from the kerb. There will also be some sense brought to the traffic orders along this stretch and the signage update is ongoing.

The work should take about 11 weeks to complete along the whole length of the road. It forms part of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund works - the same pot that will fund the major work in Acocks Green Village.

Location:Douglas Road,Birmingham,United Kingdom

Brumtunnel Closures 2014 - deja vu all over again

A reminder that the A38 St Chads and Queensway tunnels will be closed again during the school holidays this year.

The full closure will apply from 10pm on Friday 18 July through to 6am on Monday 1 September.

Starting on the 4 July, there will be two weeks of overnight closures from 10pm to 6am and a further four weeks of overnight closures to the 28th September. There will be up to 120 people working in the tunnels at any one time and work will continue round the clock to ensure that the tunnels reopen for business on time

This will complete the upgrade work started last year, which left the tunnels resurfaced, cleaner and brighter. The new phase of works will see the ventilation system, pumping stations, plant rooms, security and communication systems upgraded. 32 vehicle detection cameras will be installed to spot breakdowns and set signs to warn motorists. New smoke extraction and fire response systems will be installed to ensure that in the event of a fire, emergency exit doors can be opened remotely to ensure people don't escape into moving traffic and to make sure that smoke is removed quickly and safely. Over 40 miles of cabling will be installed as part of the work. .

Clearly, this will cause inconvenience - that's unavoidable - but the work has to be done. The lessons of last year were that it could have been a lot worse. Carrying out the work during the holidays makes a difference and we also found that many people chose to find alternate routes or modes of transport into the City for the duration.

For the most up to date information, refer to Brumtunnels.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Acocks Green Station Lifts Update

Final designs for the lift installation at Acocks Green are now on display at the station. The roof caps have been changed to pitched, the towers are slightly lower, the panelling on the side is a little less 'silo-like' and there is good visibility across the whole length of the walkway because the sides are glazed. Apparently been a real challenge to find glazing that would meet the design brief and satisfy the tough safety demands of Network Rail.

The floor plans show the station now (top) and on completion. The new access to the walkway is on the right hand side as you come into the building, between the stairs to the car park and the booking office machines.

The need was amply demonstrated as I got off the train - helped a mother up the stairs with her pushchair. She can't wait for the work to be completed. 

It looks as though the steelwork will arrive on site during July and work will continue across the summer with completion in September. There will be delays as some of the work depends on having the tracks beneath taken out of service. This has been one of the causes of delay so far, as the Chiltern Line has been a diversionary route for other lines and gaining possession hasn't been without problems. 

Hopefully, things should pick up pace now. 

Incidentally, in answer to a question earlier - the lifts are 16-person lifts with walk through access, so they are perfectly capable of taking a bike, should you wish to. 

Also, two dates for the diary for residents immediately around the site. The heavy work of installing the foundations and the piledriving is all complete, but on the 17th and 26th of July, the steel sections are scheduled for installation and that will involve night work and a big crane. The noise will be nothing like that of the foundation work, but there will be some.