Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 5300 - 5319)

  5300. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: I am concerned to hear the word "may" there. Could you describe what steps are being taken to ensure they do not?

   (Mr Walters) When I say "they may not", I am pointing out that adding 16 to 60 and getting 76 may represent slightly more than the maximum.

  5301. I can put it to you the peaks would not be dissimilar on each site, surely? They would be dictated by the pattern of the working day so you would surely have a peak which would more or less coincide with the discharge of trucks from both sides?

   (Mr Walters) My Lord is correct as far as the number of lorries per day. What I was thinking was the excavation of one site, say, Hanbury Street, would start very soon when the site was set up because a shaft is being sunk; Whitechapel Station, the peak of the excavation will be when the platform tunnels are being excavated, which is some time later so I am not seeking to underestimate it but I am slightly cautioning we would not expect the peaks all to occur at the same time.

  5302. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: At the risk of being extremely tiresome, what monitoring process would be applied to ensure the two did not overlap because of an overrun on one or the other in order to avoid the direct consequences that might result from two coinciding?

  5303. MS LIEVEN: My Lord, before we come to that, can we step back for one moment. Mr Walters, even if you take the absolutely worst case on these figures, which is 76 vehicles per day, is that a situation which would cause concern at Vallance Road?

   (Mr Walters) I think turning out of Durward Street into Vallance Road is not the easiest of turns and certainly we are quite aware of that and we have talked, as with quite a lot of junctions, with Tower Hamlets. There are the traffic lights from Whitechapel Road which means the traffic will have breaks in it. We are going to continue to work with Tower Hamlets on Durward Street, the entrance out of Sainsbury's and indeed that junction.

  5304. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: Even a break could bring its own danger because if you have trucks queuing behind each other and you do not have a break which allows the traffic to move forward, these are rather large trucks and they could move forward quite suddenly and quickly and if you have children who are still overlapping in their own exits or entrances to schools at that time, does that not create a danger?

   (Mr Walters) My Lord, that is very perceptive. We have the half-hour breaks, as I know you are aware, when the peak of school children come in and out.

  5305. Can I say, always throughout this I have been concerned that the half-hour break is not long enough if, in fact, the trucks are backed up to create a surge or a congestion of their own and, therefore, if clearance of that backlog coincides with an overrun of the half-hour, then there is a real danger. I am asking what monitoring process is applied to ensure it does not occur.

   (Mr Walters) I think Mr Berryman explained last week that we will be in radio contact with trucks and have the lorry holding areas.

  5306. Mr Berryman at that time did not identify the convergence of these two streets and that is the difference.

   (Mr Walters) I think we have 16 coming down from Hanbury Street. It is really the 60 turning out of Vallance Road. The sort of thing we will have to look at with Tower Hamlets is whether it is a good idea to put one of the boxes that one sees at junctions, yellow boxes and so on.

  5307. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: Can you go back to the plan for a moment because there is something that occurs of possible concern here.[11]

  5308. MS LIEVEN: Number 009, Mr Walters.

  5309. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: Are you going to put a temporary traffic light or control on the junction into Vallance Road so the trucks are dictated by anybody with an overseeing responsibility as to a green and red light to go and stop as a means of control on the Vallance Road into Whitechapel Road contact?

   (Mr Walters) Vallance Road into Whitechapel Road, my Lord, where the trucks are coming out is already signalled. We had looked at whether to signal Durward Street into Vallance Road itself.

  5310. Probably at Durward and Vallance then, is it not to avoid congestion? Are you having a light on that junction as well?

   (Mr Walters) I am told having two lights together might be quite difficult to control the traffic.

  5311. I find that an intensely unimpressive argument. Why on earth should the doubling of a safety standard create a greater risk?

   (Mr Walters) Having two sets of traffic lights, I am told, would—

  5312. If they are co-ordinated by one overall controlling hand it must surely be better?

   (Mr Walters) We certainly have not ruled that out in Tower Hamlets, that is still in discussion.

  5313. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: I would urge upon you further thinking.

  5314. MS LIEVEN: Can we go through a few points on this, Mr Walters. First of all, if Tower Hamlets, as the highway authority, think that it is appropriate to have traffic lights here, is that something which falls within their powers and our powers?

   (Mr Walters) Yes, and we would consider it and if that is what they want we would install them.

  5315. Next, as far as the 76 vehicles per day, if both peaks coincide at the bottom of Vallance Road, can you give the Committee some sense, even on the most pessimistic of analyses, how many lorries per hour would that be?
  (Mr Walters) I think it is probably about one lorry every six to eight minutes, so it is between eight and ten an hour.

  5316. LORD SNAPE: Just on that point, we are just talking about the lorries connected to this particular project, of course?

   (Mr Walters) That is right.

  5317. Presumably there is a lot of other traffic in this area and will be whilst construction is taking place. Is that right?

   (Mr Walters) That is right. This represents a small increase, in fact, in the overall traffic.

  5318. So there is quite a lot of other traffic then, is there?

   (Mr Walters) There is quite a lot of traffic on these roads.

  5319. Including lots of lorries?

   (Mr Walters) Yes.

11   Crossrail Ref: P40, Whitechapel Station-Proposed Lorry Routes (TOWHLB-8_04-009) Back

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