Thursday, 20 April 2017

Bikers – learn the skills that may save your life this summer

Whether you ride a superbike, classic, or tourer; if you live or ride in Buckinghamshire you can take part in a 2017 Be a Better Biker assessment day.  Delivered by Thames Vale Advanced Motorcyclists (TVAM) and supported by Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) and Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue, the assessments include workshops and an on-road assessment with a TVAM observer. There are currently two assessment day courses scheduled at Marlow Fire Station, on June 17th and July 22nd.

The assessment days are part of an ongoing effort to improve biker safety in Buckinghamshire – in the last three years, 154 bikers have been killed or seriously injured on Buckinghamshire’s roads. Since launching in 2004, the Be a Better Biker initiative has offered hundreds of local bikers advanced training on skills such as manoeuvring, overtaking and cornering techniques.

There are only 12 places available on each assessment day, so to avoid disappointment contact TfB today by calling 01296 382338 or emailing Assessments cost £20 per person. 

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Broughton Lane Bridge, Aylesbury, closed after collision

UPDATED - TfB urges road users not to move safety barriers on Broughton Bridge

Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) has become aware that some road users have moved safety barriers at Broughton Lane bridge, and attempted to use the road. TfB will now need to monitor the site daily to ensure the barriers remain in place, and wishes to impress on all road users the importance of not vandalising the traffic management measures (barriers, signs and cones) that have been put in place – these are to maintain the public’s safety as the bridge has been severely damaged. 

Broughton Bridge damage

Transport for Buckinghamshire received a call today, Thursday 30th March, from the Canals and River Trust, who are responsible for the maintenance of Broughton Lane bridge, requesting an emergency road closure after a vehicle hit the bridge. TfB have closed the road at the old Stocklake junction and the entrance to the canal car park, and set up a diversion route through Aylesbury.

Alternative routes for local drivers are Tring Road, Oakfield Road, Douglas Road, Bierton Road, Aylesbury Road, Burcott Lane, and Stocklake. TfB has halted several nearby, planned roadworks to help ease congestion while the road is closed and the diversion is in place.

The vehicle has been removed from site, but the road closure will remain in place while the Canals and River Trust carry out a survey of the damage, and determine any repairs that need to be done. The bridge will remain closed for a month, initially, and possibly longer if the repairs required are extensive. Timescales will be clearer when the survey is complete. 

Diversion map: 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

TfB Teams work through the night to spring clean A412 Denham

Morning commuters on the A412 may have noticed the road looking ship shape today after Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) teams worked over night to carry out maintenance, clearance, and drainage works on the road.

More than 20 TfB team members worked the night shift, closing the road at 8pm last night, Wednesday 22nd March, to make pothole repairs, carry out small scale resurfacing, and clear drainage channels – as well as cutting some new ones. As a result of the investigations carried out to the drainage systems, only possible under a full road closure, more improvements will be scheduled later in the year.

The roadsides got the ‘once over’ too – vegetation was cleared to improve visibility for drivers, and road signs were cleaned, all in time to reopen the road at 5am ahead of the Thursday commuting hours. The team had also been in place earlier in the day, with lane closures only between 9.30am and 3.30pm so as not to disrupt traffic at peak hours.

County Councillor Mark Shaw, who is the cabinet member for transportation, praised the team for their hard work, and for using their initiative to multi task while the road was closed, saying ‘it’s great that the team managed to kill several birds with one stone, achieving so much in one road closure, causing minimal disruption to local residents. It was really forward thinking of the local team to use their time and equipment efficiently and effectively, to give a really good service to the local community – I’d like to thank them for working through the night and making such an impact on the quality of the road. Well done all!’

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Tougher consequences for drivers caught using handheld mobile phones after March 1st

As of March 1st, if caught using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel, drivers will face double the penalties. The fine is increasing from £100 to £200, and licence points are increasing from three to six; for drivers who have had their licences for less than two years, this will mean reverting to learner status, reapplying for a provisional licence and taking both the theory and practical tests again

Using a handheld device at the wheel has been illegal in the UK since 2003, when a three point penalty and £30 on-the-spot fine was introduced. Since then, the fine has risen from £30 to £60 in 2007, and then to £100 in 2013 but this is the first time the potential points incurred has also been raised. This new six point penalty will mean losing their licence altogether for new drivers who have not yet been driving for 2 years; a tough consequence aimed at the younger drivers who, research indicates, are the worst offenders. Despite being made law more than ten years ago, recent surveys have shown that drivers are more nonchalant about breaking the law than ever before, with the percentage of people who think it’s acceptable to take a call while driving has doubled in the last two years.
County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation in Buckinghamshire, welcomes the increased penalties:

“I see so many drivers in Buckinghamshire using their mobiles at the wheel, and it makes my blood boil! The fact that some drivers think it is acceptable to focus even a part of their attention on some text message, call, or – even worse – social media while they are driving, is terrifying. My message to drivers is: put the phone away while you are in the car. It is not safe – no matter how good a driver you think you are, you are 50 per cent less focussed when you are on your phone. To think anything else is pure arrogance, and it could cost a life.”

Remind yourself of the details of the ban:
  • It includes using your mobile phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
  • You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
  • If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.
  • Fines can increase to £1000, or more, if being caught results in prosecution for dangerous driving.
  •  You may use a hands-free phone while driving but you can still be prosecuted if you’re not in proper control of your vehicle. The penalties are same as being caught using a handheld phone.
  • The penalties for driving carelessly or dangerously when using a handheld or hands-free phone can include disqualification, a large fine and up to two years imprisonment.

Why the ban matters:
  • Research shows you are four times more likely to have an accident while on phone.
  • Reaction times for drivers using a phone are around 50 per cent slower than normal driving.
  • Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text - and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Transport for Buckinghamshire responds to Storm Doris incidents

As Storm Doris sends strong winds across Buckinghamshire, Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) is receiving hundreds of calls from the public reporting trees and debris in the roads. Several TfB teams have had to suspend other work in order to deal with trees and debris blocking Buckinghamshire’s roads, working closely with local tree surgeons, utilities companies, and police. Work to clear the roads is likely to continue into the night. Here’s a roundup from the three main areas of the county, about how the local TfB teams have dealt with Doris so far:

Aylesbury Vale:

Trees have been the main issue either fallen across or depositing debris on the road. Teams have attended to 18 (as of 3pm) trees in the road, with several still to do.

There are two in-house crews attending to debris reported on the roads, who are putting in road closures and diversions.

In addition there are two tree surgeon contractors also clearing fallen trees. Western Power Distribution have been called to Little Horwood where a tree fell across the road, brought a powerline down, and landed on the Public House. (The A413 between Winslow and Swanbourne will remain closed for several hours due to a tree falling on a powerline)

Chilterns & South Bucks:

Over 50 fallen trees have caused disruption on the roads in the Chiltern and South Bucks area today.

The whole workforce is currently dealing with removing trees and branches from the road, or installing road closures. In several locations TfB teams are being supported by South Bucks Tree Surgeons in order to deal with the larger obstructions.

All other works have had to be suspended this afternoon due to the sheer volume of wind-related incidents, and it looks likely the work will continue into the evening.

High Wycombe and surrounding areas:

So far today the High Wycombe team has dealt with 22 trees in the road, and have suspended gully cleaning to release another crew to deal with the effects of the stormy weather. Only one of the trees required help from local tree surgeons.

It is expected that at least two crews will continue working into this evening.  

***If you see trees in the road, please DO NOT report it via social media: CALL 01296 382416 or 01296 486630 (out of hours) and report it directly ***

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Press release from Thames Valley Police, dated 20/02/2017 

Police to Enforce Marlow Bridge weight restriction

Thames Valley Police will be checking vehicles crossing Marlow Bridge to make sure they do not exceed the weight limit.

For six weeks, from Wednesday 1 March 2017, any overweight vehicles trying to cross the bridge will be turned around by officers and issued with an advisory notice.

After this period Thames Valley Police will enforce the weight restriction and issue £50 fixed penalty notices to drivers breaching this traffic regulation.

Marlow Bridge is a Grade 1 listed structure and its use is restricted to vehicles under three metric tonnes maximum gross weight (MGW) and less than 6ft 6ins wide.

It is the driver’s responsibility to know their vehicles MGW and to ensure that they do not infringe road traffic regulations. If anyone is unsure of their vehicles MGW they should refer to the vehicle handbook, supplying dealer or manufacturer’s website.

Whilst there are some exceptions, typically the following vehicles should not be using this bridge: Range Rovers, Discoveries, Ford Transit vans, Mercedes Sprinter vans, Volvo XC90s, 4WD pick-ups, Mercedes GLE/GLS/G Classes and Audi Q7s. 

The number of passengers or luggage within the vehicle has no bearing on its MGW.

PS Robin Hughes from Marlow neighbourhood team said: “We appreciate that this activity may cause some traffic disruption in the short term however it is imperative that people understand the importance of not driving overweight vehicles on this bridge.

“The weight restrictions are clearly signposted and the alternative route for vehicles that exceed this, along the A404 bypass, will add just a few minutes onto most people’s journeys.

“By adhering to these simple road traffic regulations we can all help to prevent future disruption in the area for residents, visitors and commuters and ensure that this well-loved local landmark remains undamaged.”

Friday, 17 February 2017

Improvements coming to Chesham High Street

Works by Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) are set to commence this Monday, 20th February, providing improvements to Chesham High Street and Market Square. The carefully planned works, which include maintenance requiring planning permission due to the town centre’s conservation area status, have been scheduled in close cooperation between TfB, the Environment Agency, Chesham Town Council, and local businesses.

The planned works comprise footway and carriageway improvements including repair to areas damaged by tree roots, replacement of some blockwork along the footway between Station Road and Red Lion Street, installation of a new drainage channel between Station Road and Church Street to address some flooding issues, and tree pruning and maintenance.

Efforts have been made to limit disruption to local businesses and residents during the predicted six to eight weeks the works will take to complete. While fencing around works will be in place, access to all properties will be open, and any works affecting access to local businesses will take place outside of normal working hours.  Chesham’s vibrant Wednesday and Saturday markets will also continue to operate during the works. Utmost care and respect will be employed in making these vital improvements to one of Buckinghamshire’s important historic towns, and all works have been designed with the conservation of town character in mind.

County Councillor Mark Shaw, who is Cabinet Member for Transportation in Buckinghamshire, has emphatically welcomed the improvements to his home town saying, ‘It’s been a long road to securing the budget and organising these vital works, and Noel Brown [County Councillor for Chess Valley] and I are both so happy they are about to commence. We really tried to listen to local residents and businesses, and the concerns we were hearing about were trip hazards and flooding – I believe these issues will be addressed by these works, and I hope everyone enjoys, and benefits from, the results. So, please bear with the contractors for the next couple of months or so, and we’ll have a renewed and restored high street just in time for spring.”

Notes: Works commence on Monday 20th February and are scheduled to take 6-8 weeks, weather dependent. All works take place within the pedestrianised part of Chesham town centre, with access retained for delivery and service vehicles as usual.