Many streetwork problems arise from the assumption that utility companies have the unchallenged right to lay their services in the carriageway. Not enough effort is put into laying in footpaths, verges, car parks, beneath flyovers, beside railtracks and on private land. Companies prefer services to be in the carriageway for ease of access but this is too often to the inconvenience of the general public.
Several years ago I was involved in the laying of a kilometre of DN1000 trunk water main through the Central District of Hong Kong Island. The most direct route was along Garden Road which is one of the busiest on the Island, but objections from affected parties led us to search for an alternative route.
Few people thought it was possible, but with the exception of one section which was thrust bored beneath the main tram route, the main was laid completely away from the carriageway and to most peoples' satisfaction.
When existing services are being renewed or new ones laid, utility companies should be compelled to show that there is no possibility of finding a route which will not affect the ever growing number of road users.
Richard Busby (M) rab@computronx. com