Newly-resurfaced Sheffield roads turning into "death traps" in wintry weather

Newly-resurfaced roads across Sheffield are turning into "death traps" with residents questioning the quality of work carried out by a council contractor as part of a £2.2 billion contract.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 05 February, 2018, 08:24
Mitchell Fry, pictured by the newly resurfaced footpaths on Whirlow Court Road, which residents say are turning into "ice rinks". Picture: Marie Caley

Residents said roads which Amey had resurfaced were "dangerous" when temperatures plummeted as water had nowhere to drain to leading them to turn into "ice rinks".

Mitchell Fry said he had seen a number of near-misses on roads and pavements around his Whirlow home as the concerns raise further questions about Sheffield Council's £2.2 billion contract with Amey to improve the city's highways.

Mr Fry, of Whirlow Court Road, said: "All the roads around here have been resurfaced and they turn into death traps when it's cold.

"I am not trying to get at the council - the intentions may have been very good and a lot of roads have been resurfaced but ice seems to form on them like nobody's business.

"The side roads around our home are slightly hilly and you just can't walk on them - you literally have to walk on the grass verge."

The council's Streets Ahead contract with Amey has been shrouded in controversy since it began in 2012. The Star revealed in 2016 that 16 roads across the city which had to be repaired just months after being resurfaced.

Trees which the council and Amey say are dangerous are also being felled and replaced as part of the contract which has led to a number of demonstrations and clashes.

Mr Fry, 67, said he had also spoken to other residents with similar concerns about the icy conditions on the roads and urged people to "take care".

"It seems that there is a real danger here. Previously the pavements weren't in the greatest condition but they were okay," he said.

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"I think the problem is the roads are so smooth. Whether it's because they're new I don't know but I think it's because they are very smooth so there's nowhere for the water to run off.

"A lot of people I have mentioned it to have said the same. I think about the elderly people who are going to come out of their homes and suddenly they are on sheet ice."

Graham Wroe, of Glencoe Road, said he felt the roads were a "massive health and safety risk" after falling on black ice on Stafford Street last month.

He said: "The area where I fell is a small patch of newly laid tarmac that Amey installed following the creation of a dropped kerb. On close inspection of the tarmac - and I got very close to it - I found it was covered in an extremely solid layer of black ice.

"It has tiny crevices which seem to hold water and ice rather than letting it drain. As the tarmac is black the ice was not visible, it just looked wet. Other nearby footways, which have not yet been renewed, were frosty but not nearly as slippery as the new tarmac.

"I gather some footways that have been laid by Amey, such as on Barnsley Road, are now being re-laid as the original surface was too slippery."

A Streets Ahead spokeswoman said: “We have responsibility for maintaining paths and it is the case that newly laid paths do have a smoother finish than the old worn ones. Prior to resurfacing by Streets Ahead, the surfaces of many paths across the city had deteriorated.

"Although a rough surface can sometimes be advantageous during periods of snow and ice, we have to maintain paths in order to ensure that, at any point in the year, they do not provide a trip hazard and they are compliant with national standards. The newly-laid surfaces are designed and constructed in line with the national standards."

She added there were 2,000 grit bins around Sheffield and urged the public to let them know if they're empty by calling 0113 2734567.