The 'Spine Road'

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I've just realised that I can work around this in a slightly less clumsy way. The map links under each picture will take you to the 1:25000 scale map (which doesn't - yet- show the actual roads, but clicking one level up on the Zoom Control on the right will take you to the 1:50000 version, which does show them.

Update (21/02/16): Just to advise that Streetmap (or, rather, the OS) have updated their 1:50000 map to show the new roads. Unfortunately, my map reference links in the Gallery are all to the 1:25000 scale version, which hasn't been brought up to date yet. So, it's as you were for now.

Compared to all the other pages in The Gallery, I'm currently at something of a disadvantage with this one; the reason being that the places shown don't actually appear on any map yet.

I mean, the locations themselves do, obviously - they've been there for a couple of million years mutatis mutandis; it's just that what is now at those co-ordinates has not yet reached the itchy mapping fingers of the Ordnance Survey. That means that, when it comes to showing you where these things are on the map, I'm going to have to improvise like buggery to be of any use.

What has come to be termed the 'Spine Road' is a long-delayed development of the former Steelworks site, designed to connect the new houses and flats (sorry, 'apartments') at the southern end of the site with the old village to its north. Communications between the two have been difficult to the point of being beyond parody in the last decade, in the same way that it has been impossible to send up the actions of - at various times, to varying degrees and in dizzying combinations - the developers, the Council and the Government with regard to the whole site.

Finally, at the start of 2015, the work began on laying the various parts of it, and it opened to traffic in late June of that year. What follows are some pictures taken a few weeks before the road opened, which was probably the safest time to take any shots from the middle of the carriageway.

As I said, I'm having to bodge things up until Streetmap gets updated, so here's part one of the kludge, which shows the general area covered, along with the five little tiddlywinks which mark the places the pictures were taken from. The road is shown for the time being by the thin black lines. Apologies in advance for any annoyance caused by the scrolling up and down you might have to do:

Picture of a new road

Icon of a map

Grid reference: SJ295536
Co-ordinates: 329560, 353680
Bearing: SSE

The 'spine road' at its north-western end (which has now been named 'New High Street'), curving down towards the main roundabout. The wall on the right marks where the road going into the steelworks used to run.

Picture of a roundabout on a new road

Icon of a map

Grid reference: SJ296533
Co-ordinates: 329605, 353370
Bearing: N

The main roundabout (complete with complimentary horse-shit) which joins the three spurs of the road. This photo was taken from the Phoenix Drive spur, with New High Street going off to the left and the Railway Road spur out of sight to the right. That's Hope Mountain in the distance, by the way.

Picture of a roundabout on a new road

Icon of a map

Grid reference: SJ295532
Co-ordinates: 329580, 353240
Bearing: S

This roundabout marks the southern end of the road where it joins up with Phoenix Drive on the new housing estate. Note how the 'stumps' of other roads have been put in position for when (or if) they might ever be needed.

Picture of a roundabout on a new road with old industrial buildings in the background

Icon of a map

Grid reference: SJ296534
Co-ordinates: 329665, 353450
Bearing: WNW

Looking across the main roundabout at the remaining steelworks buildings, specifically in this case the machine shop and the 'charging wall' which supported the coke ovens and the railway lines which brought the raw materials to be top-loaded into the furnaces. This area is planned as being one of the centrepieces of the proposed Heritage Area. New High Street leads off upper centre, and the top of the spur to Railway Road is right in front of us.

Picture of a long incline on a new road

Icon of a map

Grid reference: SJ296534
Co-ordinates: 329655, 353495
Bearing: NNE

The long slope down from the main roundabout to by the site of the former Tai Bridge on Railway Road. A new village school is envisaged on top of the bank on the left-hand side of this stretch to replace the existing 1910 building.

© Nigel Stapley

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