Monday, 17 December 2012

The on-going farce of Potholes in Essex (UPDATED May 2013)

(If you have read the blog & want to see the updates, please scroll to the end of the blog)

Just over a year ago I started cycling again & one thing I have noticed is the piss poor conditions of some of the roads that are meant to be part of the National Cycle Network. But there is one road I use a lot & have done by bus & now cycling, for the past 18 or so months which I have reported for the dangerous condition of Potholes & for over a year all I've got was 'we are looking into it' automated emails.

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This road is Langton Ave, Chelmsford & is a prime example of the farce & wasted money by the Councils & Government. Read on & you will see what I mean.

I decided to start taking pictures of this road to make a diary to prove the incompetence of our road maintenance.

These are Pictures I took in July 2012:

Now, these Pot Holes were mainly in the middle of the road & when cars are parked on both sides, it is a bloody nightmare to navigate them. Especially in the wet, snow or dark conditions & made worse when cars try get pass.

At around this time Essex Council announced their new £11 million budget to fix potholes, yeah right we all heard that before….

Wasn't disappointed as by November they were still there but worse:

Yet at the same time I took those they had done the adjoining road West Avenue:

Despite they could've easily continued, tho from what I've seem Langton Ave has been forgotten before when West Ave was resurfaced some years back & probably is why its in such a bad condition.

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After a week from taking previous pictures, they finally decide to do Langton Ave, but decided to cut corners & made an absolute mess of it... They just filled it with gravel, no packing it down, no sealing it. No! Just filled it with gravel & nothing like the work done the week before in adjoining road!! How bloody stupid is that?

And as you can see the gravel is coming out from the passing of traffic, so it wont be no surprise that in less than a month it looks like this:


And today it now looks no different than 6 months ago:

Oh & now we have this mess to contend with on our bicycles & prime example of why we don't cycle right next to the kerb...

So now you can see the farce on this one road, there are many others like it in Essex & the rest of the country no doubt about that. But I can't check every one of them, so if you have a road near you then do the same as I've just done. Reporting isn't enough, post a blog of it online & make it publicly available for all to see & show a bigger picture of what is really going on!!

Now I've explained my complaint of the sheer waste of money on man hours & material for NOT doing the job properly, would the Government depts & Essex Council like to explain why & if the contractor are coming back to do it again FOC? Maybe even Sustrans like to have words as it's part of the National Cycle Network.

January 2013

Following my posting of this blog & posting it on Social Media sites, I didn't get any response from the parties concerned (no surprise). But what I did see it yet another attempt to patch the road's potholes (whether it was a result of my blog or just coincidence, I dunno) & again it's been done badly. Here are some photo's of the work & a video with my commentary words as I cycle in the video. I let you decide if you agree with me on the poor state of affairs on this road.


February 2013

Since January, I've been watching for any further repairs & of course there hasn't been any. But in February on Twitter Essex Chronicle was asking for pics on a piece they were going to do on Pot Holes so I pointed them to this blog as had plenty of pics & video. Next thing I know they wanted to do a piece on me & a photoshoot on the very road I am blogging about. And here is the news piece...

There were some editorial errors in the piece but it with other news piece the paper did that week & following week might have got Essex Council to do something as they've announce an increase in their Pothole maintenance budget (again) but if its like the repairs that have been done & redone in this road, its just more money down the drain...


This will be my final update on this blog, its been nearly 2 yrs since I first reported the potholes & still they are a mess and yet I have seen other roads that have developed potholes this year due to the Winter spell & they've been repaired within weeks of reporting. Essex Council obviously feel this road is not worth fixing as it has failed to do it in the time I've been in Chelmsford. But I am moving on now, so I won't be able to keep an eye on the road & hope those who have the same issues will find my blog & videos of help to back their case.

So as a parting gift on this blog, here's a video done this May to show the poor conditions of the road, cycle network & bus route that this road is used for...

Friday, 30 November 2012

IKEA Hack #4 MALM Chest of drawers

This is my 4th IKEA hack which is a very simple one to do with a bit of time & patience.

First of all, this wasn't for me. This was done for my partner who needed her Chest of Drawers adapted for easier use.

My partner has to sets of MALN drawers that are very good & sturdy but also the drawers are heavy to open due to this. The design is a handleless design & the finger access at the top makes it difficult to open. So after a few discussions on how to put handles on that are low profile & big enough, she decided that the KANSLI chrome-plated 38cm Handles were the best choice.

Now due to the drawers fronts being thicker in material than standard Kitchen cabinet doors which these handles are for, the supplied bolts weren't long enough at 20mm & had to be replaced with 25mm of the same diameter.

Next was to mask up the drawers, the reason for this was so that I could mark up where the holes will be with a soft grade pencil & not mark the Beech veneer which comes in handy when mistakes are made in measuring (yes I do make mistakes) but are corrected when double checking them.

Tape also works at keeping the hole tidy when I drill, not that you see the holes when handles are in place. Holes are drilled on 1 drawer to start with & the handle was fitted to be sure it all fits ok (& pray it is as it can't be undone), which it was as I had checked all measurements more than once. After that drawer was done & was ok, I carried on to the next & the next etc, until all were finished.

And I must say they look better with the handles & a good choice made by my beloved.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

IKEA Hack #3 RAST Shelves

This is my 3rd  IKEA hack which is a very simple one to do.

Due to fitting new flooring, I couldn't have the existing RAST drawers beside the bed due to the quadrant trim over the laminate flooring. So had to find an alternative solution.

Flooring laid w/o trimming & drawers fit, but only just.
So I went for RAST shelves as they fit nicely beside the bed.

But I found them too low for the bed. Was just a nightmare to reach down for my cuppa, bedtime reading, etc.

So I decided like my BERTBY hack I would hang them on the wall with FAKTUM Brackets.


But the bottom shelf was too high for the plugs & didn't look right with legs hanging like they are, so decided to lower the bottom shelf to mirror the top shelf.

I started by putting the leg planks together & rotate one round so holes of this leg plank are opposite to the other leg plank, then used a drill to carefully drill through the holes into the other plank to make a set of matching holes.

This did mean I had extra holes not required now & didn't want them visible, so I carefully filled & sanded them flush to the wood.

Next was to drill a larger hole on 1 side of each set of shelves to feed wiring from plugs for lamps, chargers, etc then painted all the wood to cover my filling & protect the wood.

Once paint had dried, it was a case of building the 2 set of shelves & hang them to the wall on either side of the bed.

As you can see by next pic, the wiring feeds through & lamp switches are stuck in place with those no-damage adhesive pads.

I was very pleased with the results & feel the shelves really go with the decor & make the room look bigger because you can see the floor..