The A13 widening project between the Orsett Cock roundabout and the junction with The Manorway has now been ‘completed’. The project was sponsored by Thurrock Council with the work being undertaken by civil engineering contractors, Kier. The project was both over budget and took longer than anticipated to be ‘completed’. The intended aim of the widening is to supposedly smooth the flow of traffic going to and from the nearby London Gateway superport.
Why are we using quotes around the word ‘completed’? Well, bar some tweaking with road markings and signage to make sure the traffic flows as smoothly as it can, the road side of the project is finished. What remains is the landscaping alongside the widened stretch of the A13. Landscaping that’s needed to try and heal the scars caused by the widening. Landscaping that should by rights include plenty of tree planting.
If you look closely at the top photo, you’ll see that the contractor has tried to plant some trees. That’s what all the plastic tubes are for – to offer some ‘protection’ to the saplings. Tried is very much the operative word…
We recently had a little stroll over the new footbridge over the widened A13 on the way up to Horndon-on-the-Hill and paused to look at the tree ‘planting’. Pretty much the whole lot of them are dead. The contractor stuck the trees in some pretty unpromising ground and then to put it bluntly, just f**ked off and left them! Box ticked and that’s it – no follow up plan for their maintenance.
Look we know it’s hot and dry and looks set to continue that way for some while. Dry not just because of the heat but also because since last autumn, there’s hardly been any rainfall in our part of Essex. Even the weeds that were merrily sprouting up on the banks by the widened A13 and the approach to the footbridge have given up the ghost and died. The point is that this should have been taken into consideration when the saplings were planted.
The banks are now dead weeds with large patches of dried earth and dust. When the drought eventually breaks and there’s heavy rain, what will happen to those banks will be a fantastic demonstration of erosion as it actually happens!
Despite all of the bullshit contractors, agencies and local authorities come out with, when it comes to actually doing what they promise to do in terms of landscaping and mitigating environmental impacts, the rhetoric rarely matches the delivered reality. That’s something to bear in mind with both the Lower Thames River Crossing and also the proposed massive line of pylons coming down from East Anglia to Thurrock.
It also shows utter contempt for the residents who have to look at this every day. Mind you, given the involvement of Thurrock Council, being treated with contempt by them is something we’ve got used to! As for Kier, all that can be said is they don’t appear to have much regard for their public image if this is anything to go by…