Roadworks: Eastbourne’s never-ending story

When will this end?

Friday, 28th June 2019, 10:58 am
The Neverending Story (Warner Bros, 1984)

Is the collective howl of Eastbourne, as the town’s transformative roadworks rumble on, and on...and on.

I have been disrupted by them just as much as the next person. This is not a sob story, but I used to live in Terminus Road. My bedtime lullaby was drunk people wailing as they staggered back from McDonald’s, and my wake-up alarm was not the gentle chorus of birds but the deafening drilling being conducted by a fervent sadist.

Well, they were probably not a sadist, but it seemed like it at 8am on a Saturday morning. So I too have suffered at the hands of these never-ending works. If the town centre is a war zone, as I saw someone compare it to, then I am a seasoned veteran.

Roadworks around Eastbourne railway station (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-181204-100846008

It is awkward bringing visitors to the town and having to dive around obstacles like a clumsy parkour artist. The once normal activities of yesteryear, like crossing a road or going from one shop to another, become an ordeal of weaving through mazes of barriers, navigating baffled crowds. Not to mention the number of people who say they’ve tripped up.

Driving around is possibly worse, because no one knows what the rules are anymore. So pedestrians stride out into the road like kamikazes , and then the goalposts are moved and there’s a new barricade, traffic lights, and diversion to get used to.

And just as you think the end is in sight, it is snatched away. Take Cornfield Road for instance. Eight months after October is June, no? Guess again: 2+2=5 and the correct answer is September. Just in time for all those summer tourists for the tennis and Airbourne to...not be here.

Roadworks in Cornfield Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190627-115242008

To add to the fun this week we also learned the junction at Hyde Gardens and Cornfield Road will be closed for roadworks for more than a month. Taxi drivers wondered where on Earth they could drop off holidaymakers.

The overwhelming feeling people seem to have about the whole situation is one of acute frustration – with a side plate of exhaustion and a dash of despair.

But. When all this is over, and we have a shiny new town centre, will we mind?

Don’t hurl cabbages at me just yet, but it’s worth remembering every day we get a little bit closer to a vastly improved town. Bit by bit the silver fences retreat and reveal a wide expanse of pavement, or a real life road where a pile of sad-looking rubble had once been.

The stretch outside the railway station heading towards the Beacon is really starting to take shape – let’s hope they plant some greenery in the beds soon – and there are some fancy looking benches and bus shelters cropping up at certain spots.

Looking back on when all this started, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, a lot has changed since, and the town’s metamorphosis from caterpillar to what will hopefully be a butterfly is surely going to happen, soon.

So let’s all take a deep breath and remember yes it is annoying, but no, it is not a war zone.