Feeling drained

The Flour Mill junction. Always suffers with standing water after rain. Imagery from Promap.

Last week, I found myself cycling along Walsall’s new ring road, between the Littleton Street junction and Bridgeman Street, in moderately heavy rain. Once pitched by the Walsall Press Office as ‘A 21st Century Road’, this unloved, unlovely road suffers a distinctly 19th Century problem: poor drainage. Whole sections of the way were carrying several millimetres of standing water, which passing vehicles turn into spray, soaking everyone around, and limiting visibility.

Today, I rode the route in dry conditions, and thought about the causes. The cambers seem OK, although some parts of the road suface appear to have sunk considerably. Whole sections of the carriageway are drained using hollow kerb blocks with drainage holes at road level in the front. May of these channels appeared to be blocked when the rain came.

One of the worst spots was between Blue Lane West and the Pleck Road Junction, just on the bridge opposite the old Smith’s Mill. Although there is obviously a complex profile and cant to the tarmac here, huge pools formed in the gutters and reservations. Today I found out why.

Nearest to pluck Road, heading West.

Between Blue Lane West and Pleck Road, heading west.

Near the junction between the Wolverhampton Road and Blue Lane Wast.

Adjacent to the refuge, centre of Wolverhaptoin Road and Blue Lane West Junction.

These gullies – four in a row – don’t appear to have been cleaned since the road was built, and are so laden with silt that little will drain through them. These are just the ones I spotted in a cursory search. Nobody heard of preventative maintenance? This road is apparently the jewel in Walsall’s crown, yet maintaining adequate drainage, pioneered by the Victorians 150 years ago, seems beyond the technical brains at Walsall Council.

Every time it rains, huge sections of a two year old road flood. Looking at the state of these gullies, it can hardly be surprising.

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13 Responses to Feeling drained

  1. DJ says:

    Is it really a problem? Our wonderful council are rapidly killing Walsall centre off with their car parking charges,on street parking charges,and once free for 2 hour parking charges,so less car or lorries and buses to use the roads ,therefore less maintenace required as they see it, (only parking enforcers 0n their little mopedy things use the roads), in their warped minds that is.

  2. stymaster says:

    When did anyone last see drain cleaning taking place anywhere in the borough? One part of Erdington Rd in Aldridge/Streetly has considerable grass growth in the drains: enough to be clearly vsisible from a moving car.

  3. Dan Slee says:

    Sorry to hear this. Wearing my Walsall Council press officer hat I’ll flag the blocked gullies mentioned up with the transport team and ask while I’m at it how many get cleaned rather than provide you with the broad answer ‘lots.’

  4. ziksby says:

    Excellent piece Bob. It prompted me to look at a YouTube clip from Gloucestershire Council http://youtu.be/SLjxhH79zzc who clean 130,000 drains once a year ( all GPS located and satnav linked to the vehicle) but with roads prone to flooding given a 3 times a year clean. It was quite common at one time to see the vehicles in action on Walsall’s roads, but I can’t remember when I last saw one. The appearance of the road sweeping vehicle is a much more regular occurrence.

  5. Adam says:

    The road outside Queen Mary’s Girl School (the part that’s ridiculously narrow) also floods whenever it rains

  6. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    High Street Brownhills, by Anchor Bridge,Pedestrian crossing area becomes a lake, and Knaves Court Old Folks Home visitors get soaked as traffic tries to use the middle of the road to find shallow water. Dangerous 21 century Jousting contest takes place. Surprised nobody killed..or drowned in the contest! Nothing new, though. Been like it for years, before crossing and Home were put here. Soon the residents of the new apartmets can enjoy the spectacle, when the flats are completed.Urgent need to remedy things here.

  7. JeepBoy says:

    Northgate travelling towards Aldridge floods at the hint of rain just before mini roundabout

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