Can’t resist checking on the quality of Virgin Media trenching

My ‘nerdish’ activity used to be monitoring potholes. My latest similar activity is monitoring the trenching work of Virgin Media’s contractors installing fibre optic cables.

Apart from the residents of Ullswater Close who suffered from shockingly poor work of the initial contractors before they were sacked by Virgin Media, the work has generally been to a reasonable standard. Road and pavement works cause dislocation, and that inevitably affects some people more than others.

I’m not sure why that some of the trenching is laudably narrow, and other times not. As we’re in a block paved cul-de-sac I’m always been concerned that utility contractors re-lay the block paving carefully, and that’s been the case with electricity, gas and water companies. [See extent of electricity works below]

Learning from a commenter on this blog of concerns on trenching through block paving I went on a circular tour to check on the work. In Blackthorn Drive trenching through block paving was replaced well. In Briar Avenue the trenching is neat and narrow and in Burdock Close I had to look hard to find where the block paving had been uplifted and relaid.

However, I also visited Alsford Close and found tarmac laid in place of block paving. I image it’s a temporary fix, well, I hope it is. Uplifting such a large area of block paving looks as though it might present a problem to re-lay. Perhaps not, but I think I’ll be a busybody and contact Virgin Media’s Community Liaison Officer – daniel.ward@virginmedia.co.uk, to ensure that they use experienced paviours to re-lay the blocks.

Highways England state the M3 ‘Smart’ motorway is now open. Well, not entirely

The BBC reports that the 13.4 mile stretch of ‘smart’ motorway on the M3 from junction 2 to 4a is now open. Good news. Local residents have survived years of dislocation.

The BBC’s report and Highways England report say that there remains some work to complete the managed motorway project, such as testing the signals, and construction of the Woodlands Lane Bridge.

Forgive me for being a cynic. When the BBC reports,

Pranav Devale, project manager for Highways England, said the upgrade to the motorway has been completed on time.

and then in the same article says,

The 50mph speed restriction will be lifted and all four lanes will operate at 70mph in normal conditions once testing is complete, a spokesman for Highways England said. The testing phase is expected to last for up to three weeks.

and then through looking at the Highways England status report of the project, HERE, reveals the project isn’t yet finished, with ongoing road, and lane closures. Here’s one part of the report.

M3 eastbound within J3 | Eastbound | Road Works
Location : The M3 eastbound between junctions J3 and J2 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Road repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 05:30 from 3 July 2017 to 7 July 2017. Schedule : From 20:00 on 7 July 2017 to 07:00 on 8 July 2017. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 05:30 from 17 July 2017 to 20 July 2017. Schedule : From 20:00 on 20 July 2017 to 07:00 on 21 July 2017. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Note the final words, all lanes will be closed. I know the project won’t have overrun by much. Better to be honest and admit the slight overrun.

Virgin Media requests permission to lay fibre optic cable to our house. Answer is yes, yes, yes.

In the post this morning, a letter from Virgin Media. A couple of adjacent houses have a shared private driveway, hence the Virgin Media request for permission to lay fibre optic cable and a network access point.

Our house is in a cul-de-sac, where the road is block-paved. In the many digging’s up for electricity and gas the contractors have always replaced the block paving. We’ll make sure that the Virgin Media contractors do the same.

Update on Virgin Media ultrafast optical fibre broadband in Lightwater

At Lightwater’s recent Fayre in the Square I stopped by the Virgin Media tent. Staffed by their local Community Liaison Officer – daniel.ward@virginmedia.co.uk – and Regional Manager. They answered my questions.

I learned that they fired their initial installation contractor for poor performance. It was the residents of Ullswater Close who suffered shoddy trench digging.

Their regional manager said available broadband speeds from Virgin Media will be up to 300mbps. That’s some improvement on our tardy BT service. Also, they’re planning to complete the fibre installation by October and begin supplying the service to homes in January 2018.

Can’t wait – though expect I’ll end up paying more.

Success for All Saints’ book stall Lightwater’s Fayre in the Square

I heard Andrew Newman on the All Saints’ Church book stall at the Lightwater Fayre in the Square; say that the Revd Derek Browning had said the church’s book stall was the most exciting thing at the Fayre in the Square – obviously humourously.

It’s true that the book stall attracted a healthy audience. I didn’t buy anything having only recently given them a large number of books. I resisted buying yet another book on steam engines, although I did when we visited the National Trust’s Hughenden Manor last week. Our coffee table doesn’t have the art, architecture, or design books you see in upmarket magazines; it has books on Heritage Railways, Great Railway Photographs, and The Railways of Britain – oh, and Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner awaiting return to Camberley Library – yes, you can see I like books.

The organisers of the fayre – the Lightwater Business Association – were kitted out in their new LBA Crew shirts, a good innovation. New to the Fayre, and much enjoyed by stallholders and visitors was The Jazz singer.  Pleased to report that the Mayor of Surrey Heath – Cllr Valerie White opened the Fayre and stayed to enjoy the festivities. Here’s my brief photo montage of the fayre,