Highways closures and diversions

Why did you need to temporarily close the Victoria Arch to conduct the trial hole works?

The temporary closure and specialist works were essential. The completed trial hole excavations assessed and confirmed conditions at ground-level in order to deliver the complex highways plan for Woking town centre’s multi-million pound infrastructure revitalisation project the Victoria Arch widening scheme. 

Working with Skanska and Surrey County Council, we reduced the duration of the closure by coordinating operations to run concurrently while maintaining access for pedestrians and cyclists. This careful planning enabled us to complete the works earlier than scheduled and re-open the road to vehicular traffic.

How will you prevent Woking town centre and surrounding roads from becoming gridlocked during the longer term highways works?

All major infrastructure projects will cause some disruption and for longer periods of time. During the main highways works alternative routes will be well signed and prior warning will be provided to help users plan their journeys in advance of the diversions start date.

The Victoria Arch widening scheme project team is developing a road diversions mitigation strategy which will outline the most suitable diversions and the mitigation measures to lessen the impact of the road closures. The mitigation measures will aim to improve safety and traffic capacity on the diversion routes. 

In addition, the team is working with other major development teams in the town centre, such the Victoria Square, Thameswey and EcoWorld developments, to coordinate highways works to further minimise disruption. 

It is important to note that whilst every effort will be made to coordinate workplans with other organisations, the road network is always subject to unplanned emergency utilities works, which can disrupt planned diversion routes and traffic.

Why is it necessary to lower the highway by 1.2 metres underneath the Victoria Arch bridge? Is this the best option available? This requirement seems to add further complexity and costs to the project.

It is necessary to lower the existing highway, running underneath the Victoria Arch railway bridge, for two main reasons. 

Firstly, to future proof the underpass against ‘head strikes’ from high vehicles of up to 4.4 metres, such as lorries.

Secondly, the lowered highway is required to accommodate a new deeper/thicker bridge deck.

When the highway underneath Victoria Arch is closed for the project's main reconfiguration works, will pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooters, still be able to access the town centre via the arch?

Unfortunately, there will be disruption at points during the construction process and the council is carefully reviewing the needs for non-vehicular access. The council has a duty of care towards the publics and contractors’ health and safety, which means there will be full closures for periods of time. 

Alternative access options are being investigated, including via the Woking Railway Station. Network Rail is working with the train station operator, SWR, to identify accessibility enhancements including improvements to the lifts, handrails, visibility on the stairs, and adding seats as stopping points for breaks.

The council has also managed and funded recent and extensive refurbishments to the subway underneath Woking Train Station.

The highways diversions mitigation strategy includes options for further mitigation to provide measures for the mobility impaired during the bridge closure. These are currently being costed up before confirmation can be made as to what can be provided.

The closure of the road will be minimised as much as possible but there will be an impact.

Has the council identified all business and residents which will be affected by the proposed highways closures? 

Once the highways diversion routes and timings have been confirmed, a comprehensive communications plan will be implemented which will target local residents, businesses, commuters and visitors.

Questions submitted by members of the public

A significant number of questions have been received from members of the public during our engagement work, which remains ongoing. The summary questions and answers outlined above aim to provide responses to the main points and topics raised by local residents.

  • What will prevent gridlock as this is a main arterial road into Woking town centre?
  • How will works be planned to keep disruption to a minimal as locals have already experienced years of roadworks, delays etc. in that area?
  • It is likely that the A320 through Woking will be closed for many months during the Victoria Arch Bridge works. The closure of the A320 southbound due to the Hilton Hotel falling cladding incident gives an indication of what may be expected during the bridge works. The current closure has impacted the local area. For example, Wych Hill Lane has become heavily used and as a result it has become difficult for residents to exit their driveways onto Wych Hill Lane. The air quality has also suffered. Does the council have detailed diversion and traffic management plans and do these include traffic calming measures to control the current excessive vehicle speeds?
  • How will traffic diversions operate, and how will they vary over the duration of the project.
  • How many closures of Victoria Way will be required during the construction period? Will these be limited to weekends?
  • Will pedestrian and cycle access be maintained at all times?
  • Has the council identified all the businesses and residents who will be affected and won’t have utility services? How many closures are going to be required over that period? Can’t see how the footpaths will work and how pedestrians will get into the tunnel, especially disabled people? 
  • The road level is to be dropped by 1.2 metres, which adds yet further complexity to the project. Why does this need to be done? Just for additional headroom?