Video & Gallery: FENLAND: Safety campaigner finds bolts missing during barrier inspection

PUBLISHED: 14:53 11 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:03 02 June 2010

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A ROAD safety campaigner who alerted council officers that two tension bolts were missing from a riverside barrier has called into question installation and maintenance procedures. Graham Chappell expected Cambridgeshire County Council to take immediate a

Safety barrier problems on Fenland drains

A ROAD safety campaigner who alerted council officers that two tension bolts were missing from a riverside barrier has called into question installation and maintenance procedures.

Graham Chappell expected Cambridgeshire County Council to take immediate action to secure the sections of barrier on the notorious Forty Foot Bank but the work has not been carried out.

Mr Chappell discovered the absence of the two 36in tension bolts during a prospective barrier installation sites survey last Thursday. He said: "The lack of tension bolts at this location not only represents a serious lack of protection for road users but a significant failure in the maintenance programme of the responsible council officers, which would almost certainly render the authority liable in the event of a road traffic accident at this location involving breach of the barrier.

"It is also possibly indicative of faulty installation and the question arises when that section was installed, were the bolts actually put in there in the first place? The whole thing asks an awful lot of questions."

Mr Chappell said there was no clear evidence that the bolts had ever been installed and in addition the left hand section of the barrier was not attached the adjacent post. He said he understood that the barriers should be inspected by maintenance staff every two years.

A spokesman for the county council said after Mr Chappell flagged up the position on Thursday the barrier was immediately inspected.

He said: "We are looking into it and if there is something wrong we will sort it out. If the bolts need replacing we will go out and do it but we don't have these bolts in stock, and of course sometimes they get stolen."

Mr Chappell was accompanying barrier expert Karl Petters in a survey of potential installation sites along Fen river roads. Mr Petters is co-director of Arbus, a Newmarket based barrier installation company.

He is awaiting a detailed report from the expert on the possibilities of the erection of barriers on sections of riverside roads to improve safety.

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