Skip Navigation


BT damned if you do, damned if you don't
Wednesday 23 October 2013 14:52:12 by Andrew Ferguson

While many of us are used to Openreach engineers hiding behind their temporary barriers on pavements and the occasional set of traffic lights, it looks like a major operation is underway to get a kilometre of ducting and fibre installed in a Cornish coastal location.

ThisIsCornwall has covered the problems facing residents and school children in Seaton and Downderry where a section of narrow road will have to be closed while the fibre roll-out in the area goes ahead. At first glance people will think closing a road from 4th November to 13th December seems like overkill, but a check on Google maps reveals that this road is one with no pavements and barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass easily. Alas the topography and history of Cornwall means that the detour is lengthy at some 18 miles for the community school bus.

With the various county projects pushing fibre infrastructure into more rural areas, problems like this are likely to become more common and in some ways provide justification for a FTTC based roll-out that only needs fibre running to the cabinets, rather than to each and every premise.

Comments

Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Summat wrong with poles?
Posted by Apilar over 3 years ago
""This will mean children will have to walk along the beach in winter"

The exercise will kill them.
Posted by lethe over 3 years ago
And I expect when it is completed, nobody will get above 2Mbs connection anyway.
Posted by jabuzzard over 3 years ago
The article on ThisisCornwall actually says it is to be closed for 74 days, which is considerably longer than the 39 days between the 4th of November and the 13th of December.

Regardless taking 39 days to lay 1000m of cable is preposterous.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 3 years ago
Where I live it has become quite common for roads to be completely closed. Fortunately diversions are generally possible and not to long.
Posted by mike41 over 3 years ago
The Utilities & Street Works Act specifies minimum safe working distances. If you can't maintain one lane width plus safety clearance, you must close the road.

Not enough nowadays to backfill the trench and resurface a country road ... the contractor must work to A-road standards to provide for 23t tractor-trailer combos and 32t milk or bulk feed tankers etc.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 3 years ago
can they not use a field either side? Just saying.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Looking at the maps, a field either side seems not easily possible, i.e. this is not a country lane with hedges and then fields but narrow Cornish residential street with walls forming edge of road and then the properties.
Posted by mike41 over 3 years ago
It would certainly make sense to use fields either side. Just as long as it wasn't MY field being cut up by the diggers ... or MY front garden.
The utilities need vesting orders or must pay to enter private lands, but they have a right to hack up the highways. Mind you, once the Chinese take over our power industry things may be different :(
Posted by Alchemyfire over 3 years ago
@mike41 - not really. If the Chinese take over, they'll be able to hand dig really small tunnels under everything
Posted by mdar5 over 3 years ago
...and when they start digging they will find all sorts of other unmarked unknown services and worse still long abandoned pipes/cables in the exact place where they want to go. So all thep lans will have to be modified....

Posted by mike41 over 3 years ago
Good point mdar, reminds me of boss's edict 25+ yrs ago that all jobs must be swept with new-fangled Cat&Genny detection. We swore at the lost time ... until we found the 6.6kv cable serving half the town and fully 30 yards from where it was supposed to be. And that was before the boy racer came through the sign and into our trench. Road works aren't always as simple as they may appear.
Posted by herdwick over 3 years ago
@mikejp the truck that puts poles in place would block the road too.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
" the truck that puts poles in place would block the road too."

Two assumptions?

1) there are no existing poles
2) Putting them up will take 74 days?
Posted by ribble over 3 years ago
Joint user poles. Probably can't any more load without replacing , if that's an option/ permitted
Posted by Zarjaz over 3 years ago
You would still need way leaves and agreements with each and every landowner for the poles.
Also, would you really be happy if the future of local high speed internet was so easily accessible to all and sundry.
You put a nice big duct in, and then it all becomes very easy.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Hey girls, look what I found
http://www.btplc.com/ngb/News/Lightweight.htm
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
@mikejp Overhead fibre is old news, used in a good few places by BT for FTTP rollout.

Posted by ribble over 3 years ago
I'm guessing the works is for a fibre spine cable from the exchange.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Only linked it, Andrew, as some here appear not to know of it!
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
You should also mention this is 'new' news, Andrew? New since August 2012, and 'triggered' by the very County roll-out under discussion.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
We have covered overhead fibre in news and on our blog too.

Last was a couple of weeks ago in East Anglia
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
So, back to the start - why not there in Cornwall?
Posted by godsell4 over 3 years ago
I drive that section of road a few times a year, there is no verge at all, just solid stone walls on both sides. I could be wrong, I probably am and maybe streetview would confirm that. I do not recall any poles along the road, the houses on the 'sea side' of the road further up from the narrow part are likely served by ducts for everything to not obscure visibility of the houses on the 'hill side' of the road.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Thanks for the 'local', godsell. IF ducts are already there..................?

Leave them as a '2mb+' area with a satellite supply? What about wireless? Is anyone thinking laterally?
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
Random thought has any utility considered RFID type tags for ducting? Would be a neat way of identifying what's running underground with a single monitor.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
@mikejp - so you don't know the detail and the actual reason for the work?
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
It's - BRENTON ROAD AND MAIN ROAD - FROM JCN TREGUNNICK LANE TO JCN BROAD YARDS
Description : Install 50m of 1 way poly duct in Footway,Install 722m of 1 way poly duct in Carriageway
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Somerset - I can only point you at http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/6120-bt-damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don-t.html#news_comments

You quoted work (722m) cannot surely require 74 days closure?
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
From the descriptions coming out this duct will be a few feet down, not shallow trenched.
So 6 weeks isn't so bad, similar to laying new gas pipe...
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
What 74 days? 4th Nov to 13th of Dec is 6 weeks...
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
Given the several months to renew gas pipe work in local village (around 1km), and 6 weeks to resurface 3 km of road it seems to be par for the course.

Potentially could be faster if overnight working was undertaken, but proximity of homes means that would not be popular.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Well, I reckon that even a team of navvies from Somerset could dig up and relay a closed road in less!
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Somerset - ref your "Install 50m of 1 way poly duct in Footway" - someone is wrong!

"but a check on Google maps reveals that this road is one with no pavements"
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
@mikejp - so you don't still know the detail and the actual reason for the work?

Info from roadworks.org
Posted by jumpmum over 3 years ago
There are some pole in places but with the electricity feed for the houses on. Interesting road with houses all the way and no other access to each, so they will have to do a house frontage at a time to let everybody out. https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=BRENTON+ROAD,+seaton&ie=UTF-8&ei=mfZoUpmeOJCr0AWLqoC4Ag&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAg
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
jumpmum - there you go - poles in place! Do you know how the telephone reaches the houses?

Somerset - you and Andrew do not agree!
Posted by godsell4 over 3 years ago
On Streetview, move along Brenton Road until you see the Silver 206 parked on the 'hill side' of the road. You will see on the 'sea side' of the road very few houses have any signs of poles, they are served by ducting I think. The house I will visit is on the 'sea side' of the road.
Posted by godsell4 over 3 years ago
"Install 50m of 1 way poly duct in Footway" if you look at the end of the road in streetview, where there is a Red 207 parked, a grey haired man is getting out of the car, there is a pavement of 50m or so at that end, which is the junction with Broads Way.
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
A lot will depend on whether existing duct is fit for purpose (good state or enough room) or adequately mapped.
A survey will have been done and OR have decided a brand new run is least costly or time consuming.
Posted by jumpmum over 3 years ago
mikejp. Have a look! the poles do NOT go all the way. They have Multiple electric cables on and do not look suitable for sharing. The DP poles look to be served underground from both ends, may be the ducts have collapsed, there will have been ground movement as this is on a n eroding cliff.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Sounds EXACTLY like the situation FWA was supposed to sort out. I think forcing people to drive 36 extra miles a day for 74 days is not on.
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
Maybe they could bribe private land owners with free fiber.
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
mikejp.... not 74 days.... go to a calendar and count the days between the 4th of November and 13th December.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
Also go to 'This is Cornwall' and see what the 'locals' say OR see post #4?
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
mikejp... they quote exact dates for the closure, poster number 4 points out the dates are 39 days not 74 they don't support the premise that 74 is correct. thats means someone at thisiscornwall cannot count. and if you persist with in quoting what is clearly anerroneous fact you are just being obtuse which does nothing to help any good arguments you put forward.
Posted by mikejp over 3 years ago
themanstan - I profess not to know, any more than you do, but roadworks.org shows 1 Nov to 27 Jan, which is actually a touch over 74 days............? Several cannot count, apparently.
Posted by ribble over 3 years ago
there are actually 2 sets of dates on roadworks.org
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
Roadworks.org doesn't even match anything quoted by anyone, the works there are for 127 days...

9th Septemeber to 10th of Jan for western power (i'm guessing BT contractor here).

Even more interesting is the South West Water closing the road from 9th of Jan till 19th of February...

Is it the case that they are lumping both sets of works together where the road is fully closed?
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
As in the news story states there is full a road closure by BT, agreed by the council from between the November and December dates (according to the TIC). The rest of the time outside those dates roadworks.org state traffic signals.

Adding on the SWW full closure is approximately 70 odd days.
Posted by YaZiN over 3 years ago
A permit or notice of works will be put through for the full duration of the works irrespective of the traffic management (closure, temp lights or simple cones/barriers). The statutory undertaker (Openreach) will then apply a variation to the permit/notice for the traffic management to be changed from one type to the other (up to closure or down to temp lights) during the works.
Posted by YaZiN over 3 years ago
In addition to my post above, visit the link below about the new 2013 Code of practice to ensure safe operations when completing road or street works.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safety-at-street-works-and-road-works
Posted by godsell4 over 3 years ago
Apparently there is a meeting on Tuesday this week for people in Seaton and Downderry who are affected.
Posted by themanstan over 3 years ago
Good grief YaZiN!

The traffic cones companies must be rubbing their hands with gleee at the prospect of all the orders that these regulations will need.
Posted by Somerset over 3 years ago
See https://www.facebook.com/JimCandyforTrelawny
Posted by godsell4 over 3 years ago
This work is complete, it was all to lay ducting, no evidence of new poles anywhere I could see.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.