The planned 20-week reconstruction of Akers Way, which was due to start this summer, has been rescheduled for 12 months’ time.
The £900,000 project was designed to address problems with the deteriorating concrete base of the road. A complex but cost-effective solution was devised which combines modifications to the concrete road base slabs and specially designed thicker road surfacing material layers on top.
The design will increase the strength of the road and provide a longer-lasting and more flexible protective surface to the road structure below.
The only alternative to the scheme would be a multi-million pound project to remove the concrete base, and effectively constructing a new Akers Way. However, Swindon Borough Council does not have the funding to completely rebuild the one-mile stretch of road.
During a lengthy tender process for Akers Way, none of the companies who bid could demonstrate to the Council that they could meet the requirements in time for the critical school summer holiday work dates. The work has therefore been put on hold until the Council is confident the design, time and cost requirements can be met.
The Council is reviewing Akers Way to determine appropriate temporary patching to prevent further deterioration before the full scheme is underway.
Cllr Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability, Highways and Transport, said: “It is incredibly disappointing that we have had to postpone this work along Akers Way, but the concrete foundations of the road were laid in the 1950s in a way that means normal resurfacing techniques cannot be used. You simply do not build roads like this any more for good reason.
“I took over as Cabinet Member for Transport after the design and contracts for Bruce Street Bridges were signed off, and a lot has changed. I want to be confident that the contractors for Akers Way can carry out the work to the required standard, on time, on budget and with the minimum of disruption. This includes fitting the repair work around the exam period and school holiday for Nova Hreod Academy.
“Further work must occur between consultants CH2M Hill and potential contractors to allow these repairs to go ahead. Although local residents will not like it, I am certain that it is the right decision to delay the repair of Akers Way.”
Photos of Akers Way by Richard Wintle of Calyx