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Dunstans Road closure - sorry

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I'm appalled to report this but after Dunstans Road was completely renewed at the start of this year its going to be dug up to allow Thames Water to replace a 42" water mains pipe. Sorry.

Council officers and Thames Water officials have obviously completely failed to coordinate and Thames Water are insisting they must NOW replace the 42" water pipe that runs down Dunstans Road as they've now tested it and think this 100+ year pipe is leaking - no kidding!

I noticed an advertisement placed in yesterdays Southwark News newspaper and contacted council officers. For whatever reason they hadn't told ward councillors. A section 58 notice had been served after Dunstans Road renewal that legally blocks out all road works but Thames Water have trumped that by stating its critical work that they;ve just discussed from recent testing.

Why Thames Water didn't test this pipe WHEN Southwark council officers told them they were going to renew the road surface and serve a section 58 notice is beyond me.

Thames Water have stated the works will start NOW and go on until March 2011.

If you have any problems with this please email.

Again, I can only apologise for Thames Water arrogance and that they and council officers have so patently not worked together to avoid this shambles.

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Reference my earlier posting (Thames Water - Essential works) I did have a telephone conversation with Thames Water and I understand that Dunstans is only part of the work. Lordship Lane is to be excavated with alternate lane working (temp traffic lights). This large main (42") I believe constitutes a main supply to the Nunhead Reservoir. I haven't withdrawn the OS documents but locally it runs north from Dulwich Common along east side of Lordship Lane then east into Upland road south side continuing along Dunstans Road to Colyton Road, Holmstal Rd then NEE at the edge of the playing fields to the pumping station configuration at Nunhead Reservoir (Aquarious Golf Course). This pipe lays deep and under other major utility services including other water services. If they are going to dig it up and replace complete the amount of excavation is going to be considerable. They may be choosing a liner in which case the pipe needs only to be excavated at key points and the liner pushed down it. (We have already witnessed British Gas using this method).

In any case to what extent will Thames Water be directed to restore the area on completion?

I wonder if James could table a question to detail the work in hand and the extent of the disruption.

Work has already commenced in Lordship Lane 10/12/2010.

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I cant remember the exact date now it must have been before 1943 that?s when I left Heber Road School to go to Friern Road School facing the Rye.

We had returned to Heber Road School after a holiday, during lessons there was a lot of noise in road outside, I had entered school by Jennings Road gate and did not know any of this, dinner break we went out into Heber Road to find workmen digging up the road on the school side, they were using a steam Roller with a spike fitted at the back that was lowered to dig into the tarmac Road it would go about two hundred yards ripping up the surfaces then go up and down the road making a trench about ten feet wide, A Ruston Bycrus track mounted mechanical digger then dug a trench as it reversed about twelve feet deep Lorries took half of the clay away.

There were low lorries that brought long pipes I think they were about fifteen feet long and five feet wide these were black bitumen covered, they were lifted off the lorry by the mechanical digger by using two thick ropes these were lined along on the road, they filled the trench back with about a foot of small pebbles and sand, and made it level, then they brought timbers with railway lines fixed to them and put two iron gantries on the rails astride the trench, then two very thick timbers across the trench all the men pushed and rolled the pipe section across the road and onto the two timbers that spanned the trench, they then moved the gantries over each end of the pipe, there was two chain tackles that lifted the pipes off of the timbers that were taken away, the men all pushed the two gantries to position the pipe to be lowered close to the last pipe laid for connection, the pipe was lowered and levelled and eased into the other pipe by pushing the gantries along, there was a connecting strap seal, I think it was filled with hot tar.

All this was fascinating to us when we played out that evening we avoided the night watchman sitting in his hut boiling the water for his tea on an open coke brazier, we climbed down the side of the trench and looked into the pipe we shouted and got a muffled echo, we decided to see how far it went we could nearly stand upright and moved along inside gradually it got darker the only light coming from where we had come in, we came upon a bend this was to the right going up Crystal Palace Road a few feet on it was pitch black, so we came back, we could not come out of the pipe as the watchman was going round lighting the red paraffin lamps that were lined all along the road where wooden three legged stands were placed with wooden poles to stop anybody falling in to the trench. I had nightmares for months about being shut in that pipe.

We wondered where they had started from, so we followed the newly repaired surface back along Heber Road it went up Crystal Palace Road, along Goodrich Road to Goodrich Road School there the road had been dug up in branching ways it was not clear where it went as the road had now been laid some weeks as it had taken them all this time to get to Heber Road, it looked like the repairs went up Underhill and Langton Rise then Woodvale Benchley Gardens to the Waterworks, we had no idea if the water was going to go to or from there. So we knew where it came from but had to watch the daily progress as it was laid along Heber Road, when it came to Lordship Lane to turn right they did not put a sharp bend in the road but dug all the wide pavement up outside the first house that was then a Dentist, dug across the road to Townley Road and put a bend in and dig along on Alley's side of the road, it went to East Dulwich Grove where we lost interest I think it went past the East Dulwich Hospital.

I have over the years tried to get a map showing the route of the pipes that was laid for the Metropolitan Water Board.

I believe those pipes were cast iron, by now they will have worn off all the bitumen coating on the inside and must be rusting away.

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Hi Tony Rabbit,

I have already asked for details.

I get the impression, which I will check, that Thames Water were told a section 58 notice (barring utilities from digging up the road for two years) would be served and for whatever reason didn't act on that to highlight they might needed to replace a 42" water mains BEFORE Dunstans Road we renewed.

It might be worth while if I get a map of such mains and their age so that when other future roads get renewed the bleeding.

Council officers has insisted that any reinstatement where they put the road back is a whole half carriageway or where they stray across the centre line the whole carriageway.

I can only reiterate apologies to residents of Dunstans Road.

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Thank you James.

The aquisition of these maps will disclose an absolute intrigue of underground services. Many of them are not mapped fully and it's only by excavation some are found and others make their presence obvious when they burst. As computedshorty has very interestingly posted (thank you shorty) we can expect to find several of these very large 42" pipes in ED and also in most other parts of London. Computedshorty relates his schoolboy story c1943 (during WW2). During the blitz severe damage was caused to the water infrastructure and as a result there were observed several serious shortcomings. The major one was that water services to the hydrants (for firefighting) couldn't be maintained. There was a limited system of redirecting resources which inevitably resulted in low pressure and an inability to provide sufficient volume demanded when several major fires were being fought. The then Metropolitan Water Board determined to remedy this by installing a system of major water ring mains (42" pipes) (and smaller capacity local water ring mains) enabling very large volumes to be redirected in the event of serious disruptions from bombing. The electricity supply companies also engineered their supplies in the same vein. Because these services were installed during wartime some records were not properly recorded and others have been destroyed due to enemy action. Due to the constaints of wartime the quality of these pipes was not the best. The majority of ED water piping is Victorian. How long can we expect common metal pipe, exposed to mineral erosion from the soil on the outside and erosion from water on the inside, to last. One of these 42" pipes did burst during the 1980's in Marmora Road (if my memory serves me) and the damage to housing as a tidal wave roared down the hill was considerable (front and back doors demolished along with the ground floor, people to be rescued from basements, fences / walls swept away, Peckham Rye Park and Holmstall Road totally flooded. (Now reminded I'll have to look this up in SLP archive).

Dear James. A smaller pipe bursting can be disruptive. We don't want one of these monsters to burst again. However no excuse for not observing notices and procedures and destroying a brand new road surface (at great expense). Thank you for your continuing observation.

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Computed and Tony, your posts are very interesting but almost impossible to read because of the mass of text all crammed together.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but might it be possible to have more paragraphs and a space between them?

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What a complete and utter pain in the neck. Yet again more disrpution. I really can't now remember a time in the past year when either Dunstans Road or the top of Lordship Lane or Court Lane weren't dug up or partly blocked with temporary traffic lights. Horrendous traffic and my car has already been hit twice by irate drivers in recent history.......
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citizenED Wrote:


> And all this hassle to replace just 42" of pipe.

> God be Jesus.


Forgive my stupidity if that was a joke, but surely 42" is the diameter of the pipe, not its length? (Though seems very big!)

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