Questions that need answering


As Rye News was published Thursday, April 2, the railway bridge in Rye had been closed off (see above photo) and it was no longer possible to drive up Rye Hill from the town.

However vehicles were starting to arrive at the closure point from Skinners roundabout early in the day and were being forced to either turn round or reverse back from the junction of the Landgate with Fishmarket Road.

Why is not clear – but it may have been poor or inadequate signposting.

The re-opening of Military Road had earlier been reported as going to happen from overnight March 31/April 1, but it was clearly delayed.

However readers commenting on that earlier story reported that yesterday, as a result of the closure, traffic was using Deadmans Lane in both directions (despite it being one way) and it had been suggested on more than one occasion, including the town meeting, by town councillor Pat Hughes that two way traffic lights could be used to control traffic in Deadmans Lane.

East Sussex County Council leader Keith Glazier appeared to dismiss this as a possibility at the time, but it is now happening in an uncontrolled way – and such measures as temporary traffic lights are often used when single lane traffic is necessary because of roadworks.

The photos below show, in turn, that Rye Hill did not close as forecast on April 1, or certainly not at the start of the day.

Rye Hill, 1 April. It’s not fake news – but 24 hours later all had changed.

And the railway bridge and Rye Hill remained open for much of the day.

The railway bridge and Rye Hill is still open on Wednesday, but the road closure is clearly imminent

However Military Road did eventually re-open

Military Road re-opens but you have to squeeze past the contractor’s kit

However the access to Rye over the bridge was then blocked

No access to Rye from the base of Rye Hill but Deadmans Lane is open

….. at both ends of the bridge.

And so is the town end of the bridge, though all the activity seems to be in Bridge Place to the right.

But nothing seemed to be actually happening on the bridge itself yesterday though the contractor’s makeshift depot with various bits of kit remains in Military Road.

All the gas works appear to be taking place down in Bridge Place

As the photo above shows however there are a string of excavations right along Bridge Place to the railway line and a point opposite to where the closest Military Road excavation seemed to be.

So why is the railway bridge closed off if, apparently, no work is being done on that stretch of road, unless the sole reason is to make it easier for the contractor to get between his temporary depot in Military Road and Bridge Place?

And if this is the case, why could not a traffic light system be used to facilitate the contractor’s movements while maintaining the traffic flow?

And, indeed, why did East Sussex County Council’s Highways Department fail to give proper consideration to the short term use of Deadmans Lane, and to questions and concerns first raised by Councillor Hughes last November, because the photos above tell a story which raises questions that will probably not go away – and which readers are already raising.

The only plus in the saga is probably the coronavirus because it has reduced traffic movements, and the number of people travelling by either car or bus, but ESCC did not know that would happen when they approved these works.

Image Credits: Nick Forman , Seana Lanigan .

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  1. I have to take my wife to hospital in Eastbourne for chemotherapy treatment. Yesterday I couldn’t get across the bridge but was able to use Dead Man’s Lane – going. Coming back, though, to avoid going the wrong way up Dead Man’s Lane I had to drive across the marsh past the Woolpack turning and then on back lane up to Appledore and back down Military Road to get back to Iden where we live. I have go again today – twice!
    Do we have any idea when the Bridge will Re-open>
    John A.A. Harrison

  2. Not a date I would wish to quote with any certainty. However I note that East Sussex County Council’s Public Notice dated 3 April states that their own Highways Department is carrying out drainage works in Bridge Place on April 6 and 7. Does that mean the gas works will be out of the way by then ?
    Another part of the same notice says “the One Way restriction in Deadmans Lane will be temporarily suspended to permit 2 way traffic”.
    This is “to permit access and egress” overnight on April 20/21 as Network Rail are working on the level crossing in The Grove/Rope Walk in Rye – something ESCC said was not practical or possible for the current road works on Rye Hill. More questions seem to be raised.

  3. Maybe time to discontinue this thread, just like myself you will not get the answers,we are all looking for,maybe timid excuses.
    [Note: This comment has been slightly edited to meet our guidelines]

  4. I read with sheer amazement at the apathy from ESCC to all the works which are currently shutting down access into and out of Rye.Yes we are in Sussex even though they probably wish we were not. . i see that folk are using Deadmans Lane in both directions, grow up ESCC and put traffic lights both ends and notices for lorries to take the alternative routes as if you can manage it for British Rail you could do something positive for the people of Rye instead of making lame excuses. Not everybody who lives in Rye works there and the same for folk who live out of Rye but work there. Access to Doctors and Hospital and also other facilities is not denied but made.very difficult. Can we have a sensible conclusion please?

    [Note: This comment has been slightly edited to meet our guidelines]

  5. We have to go from Rye to Wittersham every day. Yesterday going along the A259 and a road to Appledore, then Wittersham was 15 miles, normally a trip of 6 miles. If temporary traffic lights were installed on Deadmans Lane, this would make life so much easier. Today we’ll try Udimore Rd towards Brede and the country lanes to the back of Jempsons, then lanes to Iden and Wittersham and see how that compares. Or we could just go the wr way down Deadmans lane!

  6. Agree with you all, as I have posted elsewhere. IMO the best site for road disruptions is:
    It shows full details of works/closure licenses and dates. The license for Rye Hill closure runs until April 22.
    As with many of the more important issues recently, somebody should be held responsible.

  7. It strikes me common sense is not possible by the highways. At this difficult time people need to move in and out of rye without too much obstruction. please please please can some one have a modicum of common sense and make traffic lights happen in deadman’s Lane.

  8. This bridge has been closed all weekend, no body working on it. Can you imagine how frustrating it is to get back from Rye central, taking a 15 mile (approx) detour to get back to Rye Hill. This is really really senseless and why cannot our councillors do something about it, obviously it’s no inconvenience to THEM.

    Can someone take the initiative to do something about this. Lights two way on Deadman Lane. Or, a midnight raid to take down the barrier.


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