Lewes Forum thread

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Tunnel vision

On 1 Sep 2009 at 11:19am Ed Can Do wrote:
A friend of mine goes fishing down at Newhaven a lot and got chatting to a guy over the weekend who is currently "working" on the Cuilfail tunnel. Apparently, the reason it's taking so long is that essentially they've done it wrong and had to re-plan. The sheets of metal lining the walls are not just badly put up, they're also apparently dangerous as they reflect too much light from outside the tunnel into it meaning that anyone driving through the tunnel on a sunny day and not wearing sunglasses is likely to be blinded by the reflection. They either need brighter lighting all the way down to reduce the contrast or less reflective panels. All work has now ceased while a solution is sought but they are still closing the tunnel every night to maintain the illusion that work is continuing.

Now I can't prove this story, it was after all relayed to me second hand and the guy might have made the whole thing up but by all accounts it was a pretty long conversation and seemed a bit too elaborate to be complete fantasy. Certainly nobody can dispute that the work has already hugely over run and doesn't look half finished yet. I do find it slightly hard to believe that even the current bunch of crooks that seem to populate the various planning and public works departments would sink to such a level of duplicity to cover their own incompetance but I can easily belive the whole project has been deeply flawed from the start.

Does anyone know anything about this? Who's even in charge of the project? Is it the ESCC or the Highways Dept? If nothing else it'd be nice to know why it's taking so long as living in Malling and working in Brighton, on the odd occasion I drive to work it's generally because I'm working late and having to drive through the town every time is bad enough for me but I imagine for people living on the through route the additional traffic after 8 o'clock is most unwelcome.
On 1 Sep 2009 at 12:07pm Geoff wrote:
I have no idea if this is true, but whatevcer is going on there is neither efficient or well done. A load of slowly erected dented and buck;led white panels covered in dirt. I noticed similar panels inanother tunnels, that were professionally constructed with no dents or buckling.
I did notice some metal frames at the bottom of the 'wall' behind the crash barriers, which could be for lights, and obviously the top is yet to be completed. I doubt that they would 'forget' lighting, but it may be there are some technical problems with the project.
After all, this is the same Highway Authority who can't ensure the safety of a single pedestrian crossing outside the Newmarket.
On 1 Sep 2009 at 1:01pm Mystic Mog wrote:
ESCC's highways department are running the project.
Geoff, I believe that youar wrong about the quality of the panels. The panels are stove enamelled and the buckled finish is due to the process of stove enamelling. If your cooker has stove enameld have a look at those as they catch the light.
The lighting does look a bit dim in there.
On 1 Sep 2009 at 1:41pm Geoff, wrote:
I'll take a closer look, but if that is the kind of crap look they are going for they I think they need to try the one I have seen which is flat and modern. i know lewes is a lovely town full of wonderful od fashioned things we all love, but surely the old battered patina look shouldn't apply to a road tunnel!
On 1 Sep 2009 at 2:59pm river boy wrote:
i like what i have just read E.S.C.C running the project . well that will be a co#k up again .
On 1 Sep 2009 at 7:08pm TDA wrote:
Ed surely your question about whether work has ceased or not could be answered by a quick recce this evening?
On 2 Sep 2009 at 12:19am Geoff wrote:
OK, have checked the panels, and I am afraid they are simply dented and very bady buckled.
On 2 Sep 2009 at 8:42am Piggles wrote:
The tunnel has been open in the evenings lately... even on weekdays.
On 2 Sep 2009 at 12:18pm Prick Stein wrote:
Is there anything in Lewes Geoff has not investigated or had an opinion on. Geoff my man, have you nothing better to do?
On 2 Sep 2009 at 8:39pm One Twat Lady wrote:
Seems to have rattled your cage Mr Stein? Some people in Lewes are just clever and knowledgable. just ask Caroline. It was Geoff who told her what to write to ESCC, he was right, and she succeeded. Perhaps you have reason to dislike the accuracy of his comments? We take notice of Geoff and other poeple because they tell us where they got their facts from. 'Nothing better to do' ? At least his posts have a point....unlike yours! Maybe the reason he knows so much is that he is a Council mole, or a lawyer. either way it seems that he has simply done what most of us do. Simply driven through the tunnel on the way somewhere, and looked out the window at those obviously buckled metal panels!
On 2 Sep 2009 at 11:04pm Victor Meldrew wrote:
What is the bloody point in lining a tunnel with placing expensive sheets of metal? The only benefit that I can see is for some persons (who shall remain nameless) to steal the panels and sell them on as scrap metal.
On 3 Sep 2009 at 8:09am Mike Hunt wrote:
Bloody busybodies!
On 3 Sep 2009 at 8:44am Bergamot wrote:
Have n't people got better things to think about?
On 3 Sep 2009 at 9:39am Mr T wrote:
Obviously not, the do-gooders!
On 3 Sep 2009 at 10:06am Eh? wrote:
Hmm, you seem to have a problem with 'do-gooders' Why is that?
Do gooders, implys that they are, well...doing good? Call me a complete twat, but isn't 'doing good' well. um....a 'good' thing?
I pressume these panels are part of an improvement, which is fine. If we are going to have to pay for this (which we are) then surely we all want to make sure it is done properly, so that these buckled and bent panels don't need replacing again long before they would need to be, if we get it corrected now.
If you had a brand new car with bodywork as buckled as this, would you think it was ok? This is the technological age, not the crappy buckled panel age. Get A Grip ESCC!
On 3 Sep 2009 at 12:08pm Mr T wrote:
Your a complete twat, there you go, you asked for it!
On 3 Sep 2009 at 12:56pm Love in a Mist wrote:
It's a tunnel for cars to go through...it doesn't need to be as smooth as my pert silky bottom...
On 3 Sep 2009 at 12:57pm Prick Stein wrote:
However some people just love a good moan!
On 3 Sep 2009 at 1:24pm Love in a Mist wrote:
Yes it's a strange thing to get worked up about....
On 3 Sep 2009 at 1:44pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Absolutely. I mean, why should we care that the people elected to spend the money we all pay over every month in various taxes are potentially wasting it on sub-standard work and inconveniencing a ton of people in the process? What does it matter that people we trust to safeguard the money we give them are very reticent about telling us what they're spending on?

If you gave money on a monthly basis to someone to do your shopping for you, would you not occasionally wonder what they were spending it on? If you paid a builder to work on your house, wouldn't you like to know if he was doing a good job for the money you were paying him? You should take an interest in what the government spends money on, be that at a national level or the bunch of chancers at County Hall because it's your money. It's that kind of apathetic attitude that has allowed politicians at all levels in this country to essentially do whatever they like for so many years now and some of us look for a little accountability in our public servants.
On 3 Sep 2009 at 2:28pm Flower Girl wrote:
Blah Blah...god almightly Ed Can Do....I bet you own a clipboard and lots of files...did you ever see Ever Decreasing Circles???
On 3 Sep 2009 at 2:53pm Mystic Mog wrote:
If one were an outsider and not have seen the tunnel one would conclude (from this tread) that the tunnel is full of knarled twisted pieces of tatty metalwork. The reality is that their enamelled finish highlights any in perfections and the process of stove enamelling gives a variable thickness of porcelain enamel. If you have a chance, have a look at similar cladding at Embankment underground station. Also to make these panels in low volume they would be fabricated rather than pressed. this means bending and then welding the return section. This would be followed by gringing the edges and finishing. So I think that we are being over critical of these custom panels.
What is more important is the reason for the works halting
On 3 Sep 2009 at 3:48pm sashimi wrote:
Mystic Mog, Flower Girl is now curled up on the sofa fast asleep. I read out your post. But she has such a low boredom threshold that I hadn't got half way through all that technical stuff before she started snoring. Besides you are missing the key questions here. Why was it necessary to posh up the tunnel in the first place? How much was it scheduled to cost? When's it going to be sorted and finished? Who's going to pay for the difference: us or the contractor? You seem to be a well connected bloke. Can't you ask a mate on the Council or put in an FOI request and find out? I agree with Ed there is definitely a nasty smell here and we need to chase it up. Lewes is beginning to get a Rotten Borough status.
On 3 Sep 2009 at 4:28pm Mystic Mog wrote:
Dearest Sashimi
Engineering maybe boring to you but is vitally important and without it Flower Girl's sofa would have collapsed.
I made no attempt to discuss the other points because I do not have the info. If and when I do I will post it, rather than speculate or be snide. However I do have first hand experience of metalwork fabrication and design and thougt it would be important to enlighten other readers.
As far as I can remember the tunnel got a grant from central government for the works.
Why is the work being carried out?
1. As a gateway to Lewes it looked sh one t
2. It leaked directly onto the highway and during winter this could be a hazard when frozen
3. Difficult to clean
4. New fans to be fitted
5. Energy saving lighting to be fitted
Well that is what I can remember off the top of my head from what said in a public meeting in Cliffe by ESCC last year.
As to why the works has stopped, I might give them a ring.
On 3 Sep 2009 at 4:32pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Flower girl, do you really think it doesn't matter at all what your tax money gets spent on? Would it not bother you if all benefits were stopped, there were no more policemen or teachers or firemen and nurses and instead the council all bought themselves massive houses and private security guards?

I hardly think taking three minutes out of my day to ask if anyone knows why it's taking so long to do up the tunnel counts me as a clipboard carrying bore but then if that's how you think, you might be better off reading Heat magazine than reading this forum.
On 3 Sep 2009 at 4:53pm Merlin Milner wrote:
OK then this is what the status is, after a call to ESCC highways:
The German manufacturer of the panels has supplied substandard panels (ie not to spec). So the work has stopped until they get proper quality panels. They cannot remove the current panels because they contribute to lighting the tunnel. So Ed you were partially right. Mystic you are wrong about the panel construction (they are flat) and the fans were not to be replaced.
So Sashimi et al, no reds under the beds or any Council conspiricy.
Also Sashimi it because of some people's snobish attitude to engineering that we have to import enamelled steel panels from Germany rather than make them here, as we used to.
On 3 Sep 2009 at 5:01pm sashimi wrote:
My dear Mystic, it was not me that was bored but the lovely Flower Girl who has no interest in physics or engineering though like the rest of the world she depends on and takes them for granted. Where would she be if she was without her well engineered bra and the laws of physics were allowed to take charge of her personal appearance, I wonder? I'm afraid I shall never know. Personally I don't care what the tunnel looks like and I don't drive an open topped car so it doesn't bother me if it leaks a bit. I would rather the cash was spent of a noise reducing surface for the bypass. But I expect I'm in a minority of one on that. I look forward keenly to hearing the results of your researches.
On 3 Sep 2009 at 5:15pm Merlin Milner wrote:
I agree about the bypass noise and re-surfacing. However unfortuneatly the bypass comes under the Highways Agency. The tunnel under ESCC.
It is not just about aesthetics, but also safety and engergy conservation. However the German supplier seems to have negated some of the enregy savings by making poor quality panels that have to be replaced.
On 3 Sep 2009 at 6:17pm cliff edge wrote:
I for one am glad there are still some crappy German engineers - I thought they were meant to be perfect. Nein!
On 3 Sep 2009 at 8:38pm geoff wrote:
Thank you Merlin for finding out what ESCC is saying about the panels. I can believe it though it is a shame that we paid for so many to be fitted before anyone at ESCC noticed what was bleedin' obvious to everyone else when they fitted the first few.
On 3 Sep 2009 at 9:44pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Nice one Merlin. Does this mean the tunnel is going to be re-opened full time until the new panels are delivered? It'd be nice if they'd put a sign up by the Glynde turn off to say whether it's open or not as waiting until you get to the roundabout means either a long trip round the bypass or back out to Glynde. Of course, they're not going to encourage people to go through Glynde so I'm not holding my breath on that one!
On 4 Sep 2009 at 8:31am Merlin Milner wrote:
Geoff. I asume that to use the installed new lighting it needs the panels to provide adequate lighting in the tunnel. So panels had to be fitted for lighting purposes despite their poor quality. I would think that the contractor are initially paying for the panels.
On 4 Sep 2009 at 6:41pm sashimi wrote:
Merlin, I too would like to commend your public spirited pursuit of this issue on our behalf. Can you find out if the whole cost of this cockup will be borne by the contractors and manufacturers and not by the public purse? Also, since Ed mentions it, there are some confusing signs over the whole area explaining that the Cuilfail Tunnel is closed at night. This is OK for those of us who know where the Cuilfail Tunnel is. But it doesn't mention Lewes. I wonder what a French lorry driver will make of the sign at the Boship roundabout near Hailsham telling him to avoid going through a tunnel with a Welsh-sounding name in an undisclosed location - that we now know isn't closed after all?
On 7 Sep 2009 at 11:32am Frak wrote:
One question, what was wrong with some good quality paint and some better lighting. Seems to work in most tunnels I've passed through.
On 7 Sep 2009 at 12:22pm Its Not Rocket Science wrote:
Good point Frak. I drive through the Southwick tunnel regularly and it is always really clean and bright and that is only painted. Suppose the one way traffic in each tunnel helps the fans to push the dirty fumes out. You can already see how filthy the new panels are, but even so I am sure it is not beyond the realms of possibility to pressure wash the walls every once in a while

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Infernal reflections 46:132
Infernal reflections

Too busy working to write too busy working messages. more
I like the fact it's safe enough to leave windows open and shops don't need to put grills up at night.