Another great photo from Rob Coles who emailed to say:
‘Work started today, Wednesday, to remove the top of the damaged pillar at the top of Ralph Allen Drive. I was told it was for safety reasons pending a decision on how to resolve the problem.’
Meanwhile, the same operation was photographed by Sharron von Tutschek who wrote:
‘I was sure I had seen an article on your Bath Newseum site about the damage to the pillar at the top of Ralph Allen drive? Maybe I read it elsewhere, if so, please disregard this email.
Whilst driving through Combe Down this morning, I noticed that Ralph Allen drive was closed and there was a crane and a group of workmen lifting the top of the pillar off… see attached pictures.
So, it appears that no matter who drew attention to this, it is being fixed and rather promptly too. Merry Christmas to you.‘
The same to you Sharron and indeed it is a story we’ve been following on Bath Newseum. You may be interested to know that Jane Williams from the B&NES press office told me:
‘We thought you would be interested to know, having already written about it, that the damaged gate pier at the top of Ralph Allen Drive has been removed as a temporary safety precaution and is in safe storage.
Officers are reviewing options for a permanent repair to reduce the risk of future vehicle strikes.’
What is the matter with drivers lately? We seem to be getting reports of damage to beautiful old historic structures so regularly nowadays. From this important decorative pier, to the Grade 2* listed Lodge on Cleveland Bridge, the Laura Place fountain, the decorative balustrade by the Weir at Pulteney Bridge and the railings at Wagama and the Francis Hotel. Now, just recently a whole section of a important historic rubble wall here in Larkhall in Claremont road has been seriously damaged. This high wall was, according to locals, hit twice within a short space of time by trucks, but it is hard to see how this could have happened unless the trucks rode up right across the pavement!
Each time these decorative Bath stone structures are damaged, they loose some of their historic value – I doubt if our wall in Larkhall will ever look the same.
Great to see some action at last. But these pillars have been damaged for months. What exactly does “Officers are reviewing options for a permanent repair to reduce the risk of future vehicle strikes” mean? The answer surely is to restore the pillars properly, and add measures to prevent them being damaged in future. And we are told that removal is a temporary measure: how long is temporary?
Surely the answer should be to restore and replace the pillars asap (let’s say: within a month), and as a temporary measure (until officers can come up with something better) place bollards to keep traffic away from the pillars. That would mean restricting the access to the top of Ralph Allen Drive to a single lane with presumably temporary traffic lights. Here are three long-term alternative suggestions:
1. Move the pillars to a pavement width away from the traffic. Place a bollard barrier on the pavement edge to protect the pillars. Mark where they currently stand with a stone inscription set in the pavement as a permanent reminder.
2. Re-thiink the mini-roundabout that has caused the problem. Maybe replace it with traffic lights.
3. Shift the mini-roundabout further away from the top of Ralph Allen Drive so that any vehicle turning into it will have completed its turn before it reaches the pillars.
And you could add: Install cctv to identify vehicles causing future damage so that the cost of restoration can be reclaimed from their insurance cover.
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