The repair work is estimated to take four weeks with major diversions in place, and the work has to fit in with other repairs and diversions in the area to try to minimise disruption.
The Shropshire Triathlon committee have been working with the Council since the end of last year to arrange for the Triathlon to still go ahead. Initially the council hoped that the work would be completed before the race took place, but due to circumstances outside their control that was not to be.
Completely independantly of us, local MP Owen Patterson had also tried to get things moving in January, but had found things were already progressing as fast as they could, so he left the Council to get on with it.
The Shropshire Triathlon committee worked with the Council for a number of other scenarios in case the work couldn't start on time. A site meeting was held on Thursday 5th May between the Council Highways manager, Council contractor manager, Alan Penton (race event director) and Alan Rowen (race cycle co-ordinator). Police Constable Paul Crump (race committee member) & Peter Davis (race organiser) also attended this meeting. It was confirmed at the meeting that the Highways Department were just awaiting the final approval to close the road on 23rd May before the signs could be put up, so the other scenarios were not required.
The normal road closure procedure is a six weeks process, but the Council were using their emergency powers to reduce it to a two week procedure due to the length of time it had taken already and disruption it had caused.
What it Means for the Race:
There is a VERY narrow lane with passing places that can give a diversion from Kilometre 2 to Kilometre 3, but please do not try coming back down it as other competitors will probably be using it. The diversion is 4.8Km long and may have overhanging branches and does have a humped bridge, so be careful if you have a bike on top. A map will be on the notice board at Registration to show the diversion.
From Kilometer 3, you can follow the rest of the cycle route as normal. If you just want to see the problem area, please follow the cycle route for another 1.7km, then go through some narrow lanes back to Ellesmere. Again, a map will be provided at Registration to show the diversion but on the Sunday this diversion cannot be used as the roads will be closed for the run.
Note: If any one way diversions through the lanes are set up for local traffic, they will over-rule these plans. Check with the official plans at Race Registration in the Town Hall
Sunday (Race Day):
It depends upon the weather in the week before the race and what they find when they start digging, but the excavations they need to make will be quite deep and could be from ten feet to fifty feet in length. For the safety of the workmen in the trench, they will need to have heavy duty safety barriers in place, which will reduce the width of the road. Therefore, just over the crest of the hill at the bottom of the dip, the road may be narrow past the excavations. We expect there should be sufficient room for two cycles to go side by side – but just take care!
As soon as the concrete blocks are moved, we will get someone from the cycling team to sweep the road to reduce the chance of punctures.
Once the concrete blocks are moved, there will be a police community support officer (PCSO) on hand to ensure no other traffic tries to take advantage of the temporary road opening. The PCSO will probably be Tracy Walker from the Shropshire Triathlon organising committee who knows everyone who is authorised to go through - so tell your mates not to try it on.
After the last rider in the Ellesmere Sprint Triathlon has cleared the section of road, an authorised marshal will notify the Council Contractor that the race has cleared the route. The Council Contractor will then use his heavy lifting equipment to replace the concrete blocks, making the road impassable again.