- Tower Hamlets
Road restrictions in place since last summer will continue to plague Dalston commuters in the New Year, East London Lines can exclusively reveal.
A major diversion has been in place on a section of Dalston Lane between Kingsland Road and Ashwin Street since July 2008 while an old Victorian bridge is replaced.
Engineers have now discovered “unexplained” cables within the bridge’s structure, which means a diversion that should have been removed by October will now remain in place until early 2010.
A spokesman for TfL said: “Dalston Lane is a Victorian-era constructed bridge and needs to be replaced using modern construction techniques. This is a complex process.
“While replacing the Victorian bridge, we discovered unexplained cables inside. The presence of these cables means it is currently not possible to allow two lanes of traffic to operate as soon as we had planned.”
TfL say they have twice written to utility companies serving the area to identify the mystery cables, but thus far no one has claimed ownership. They have also tracked the cables by sight and hand and used cable tracers to detect a live current, but are unable to identify their origin.
Engineers are nonetheless confident they can remove the cables without causing any major structural damage, and do not foresee any need to close the road completely.
This marks the second setback to road users – work was initially due to finish by May 2009, but this was extended to October following the detection of additional steelwork that needed to be removed.
The new bridge will carry traffic over the extended East London line. It is understood that the news will not delay the line’s scheduled opening in June next year.
But congestion looks set to continue in Dalston. Westbound traffic, including buses and bicycles, is currently being diverted from Dalston Lane along Queensbridge Road, then on to Richmond Road and Kingsland Road. Bus route numbers 30, 38, 56, 242, 277, and N38 will also continue to be diverted along this route. Eastbound traffic and pedestrian access remains unaffected.
During this extended period of closure, Thames Water will carry out drainage work. It is hoped this will reduce the possibility of future closures.
TfL insists it is doing all it can to minimise disruption and has promised to keep residents informed of latest developments to the works.
“We are working with the London borough of Hackney to ensure that disruption to residents is kept to a minimum while we build new transport links for Hackney,” said a TfL spokesman.
“We have notified 21,000 local residents in the Dalston area twice this year to keep them updated on the progress of the works, including the revised opening time of early 2010.
“The diversion plan has been, and will continue to be on display at all amended bus service bus stops, as well as the Transport for London website.”
The work in Dalston will allow the East London line to connect with Highbury & Islington station via Canonbury in 2011. TfL is spending £1.4bn on the project, which will link the London Overground to 20 of the city’s 33 boroughs.