£4.5m plan to repair crumbling A4146 bypass

The A4146 near Soulbury.  Photo: Google
The A4146 near Soulbury. Photo: Google

A £4.5 million investment has been provisionally earmarked for resurfacing the crumbling A4146 Stoke Hammond Bypass this 
summer.

Bucks County Council’s Cabinet met yesterday and agreed the funding should be included in the 2018/19 budget, subject to agreement at a full council meeting.

The news just a fortnight after an online petition to improve the condition of the road between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes was launched.

The petition, A4146 Stoke Hammond Bypass - Fix It!, is hosted on the Bucks County Council website and follows years of complaints about the state of the route which was shut for emergency repairs as recently as early January.

It states: “This busy and important route is the main connection between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, yet is littered with defects on both carriageways. It needs to be brought up to standard this summer (2018). The road is only 11 years old yet is crumbling along its whole route.”

Martin Gowans set up the petition. He told the LBO: “Anyone who uses the A4146 will know that it’s tricky to avoid the many potholes and defects along the road.

“It’s not as if there’s just one or two – you can get that at this time of year – the road is littered with them.

“It’s been reported in the past that Bucks County Council would be looking to go back to the initial contractors as the lifespan of the road should be much longer, but they need to take action now to put the road right.”

A Soulbury resident said: “In more than 40 years of driving I have never seen anything like this, and must be due to poor construction.”

Bucks County Council deputy transport cabinet member Paul Irwin said he recognised the road surface had deteriorated in the 10 years it had been open.

He said: “There’s always great pressure on our roads maintenance budget, and I’m pleased we’ve been able to increase our investment in the county’s roads in 2018/19.

“This is a road of strategic importance, and it needs resurfacing, which is why we’ve recommended the full council to invest £4.5m in a resurfacing programme.”

If full council agrees the 2018/19 budget, work on resurfacing Stoke Hammond Bypass could start in the summer.

The LBO reported on the condition of the road in January 2017 and Bucks County Council said it was one of the main roads that it routinely inspects every month.

At the time, councillor Mark Shaw, Bucks County Council transport cabinet member said: “Over time, if our inspections lead us to the conclusion that the road surface is performing poorly through design or original materials used, then of course we’d consider taking this up with the contractor.”

The contractor, Alfred McAlpine was taken over by Carillion in 2008, which has since gone into liquidation.

A spokesman for Bucks County Council added yesterday: “In order to keep the bypass serviceable and in a safe condition ahead of resurfacing, Transport for Buckinghamshire are doing safety inspections weekly to monitor the road and ensure immediate maintenance issue are addressed.”

The petition originally aimed for 20 signatures, which is the threshold for Bucks County Council to respond. It already has 82 signatures and is available until February 28.

To sign the petition, you have to live, work or study in Buckinghamshire, visit: https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=5345.