Pictures show traffic ‘chaos’ on first day of Coldean Lane closure

A RESIDENT has slammed “poor” traffic management by the city council as diverted buses and lorries cause “chaos” in a residential street.

Coldean Lane was shut on Tuesday and will remain closed for up to six days to carry out “essential work” on the trees that face the busy road.

Many of the trees are dying of the fungal infection Ash dieback, meaning they must be removed “before they fall down”.

If left alone, they could cause serious damage to people and property, Brighton and Hove[1] City Council warned.

To deal with the traffic, all motorists have been diverted via the A27 to Falmer.

However, Coldean resident Gordon Dinnage claimed this did not happen on Tuesday. Instead, tree surgeons were left to enforce the closure, with many motorists ignoring it entirely.

Traffic filtered into Forest Road and the narrow Rushlake Road, only to meet with traffic coming up through Park Road, creating a bottleneck.

Pictures taken from Rushlake Road show double-decker buses narrowly avoiding parked cars, causing long tailbacks.

In one case, Mr Dinnage claimed he had to help a lorry reverse out of the area.

Buses were forced to avoid parked cars

He said: “The council have done a really poor job of going by the letter of what they said would happen.

“It has been left to people’s devices and if you leave people to do what they want, they will go past the road closed sign, until they are forced to turn around.

“It is a narrow road and there is no way past.

Tree surgeons are doing the traffic management for the council which isn’t their job and they are getting the abuse.

“There is no one from any official source of traffic management whatsoever.”

Around 20 per cent of all woodland trees owned by the city council are ash, so they will be cut down to protect wildlife and people in a situation which has “never” been faced before.

Across the country, there are 125 million ash trees in woodlands and between 27-60 million ash trees outside of woodlands.

The symptoms first become visible during early June when the leaves are first emerging.

These show themselves as wilting, with dark discolouration on the leaves and elongated lesions developing on the smaller branches.

Eventually, the whole crown will become infected with a characteristic “crown die-back” developing over the next few years.

The disease spreads via spores caught in the wind from tiny mushrooms borne from the main leaf stalk and has the ability to spread over a ten-mile radius within one year.

Over longer distances, the risk of disease spread is most likely to be through the movement of diseased ash plants and foliage.

Until the work is completed, the council said it will not be issuing any new licenses for Forest Schools.

Ahead of the closure, a spokesman said: “We realise there’s never a good time to close a busy road like this, but it was agreed between the council’s tree experts, our transport team, the bus company and the contractor that half-term would cause the least disruption.

“We’ve posted letters to what we believe is every household on the Coldean estate explaining the situation, including ways of how people can contact us and the bus company for further information.

“Signage is now in place warning of the closure, and we will also have staff on site to help with queries and assist people with mobility issues.”

References

  1. ^ Brighton and Hove (www.theargus.co.uk)