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How long does it take to fix a sunken manhole cover putting "cyclists' safety at risk" ?

18 months and counting if you're Anglian Water which is "still trying to identify problem"...

A councillor in Bedford has criticised Anglian Water for failing to carry out repairs to sunken manhole covers that are putting cyclists’ safety at risk more than 18 months after it was advised of the problem.

Councillor Sue Oliver has told the utility company that it needs to fix the problem straight away or else it could be charged for the work by Bedford Borough Council, reports Bedford Today.

However the council has informed Mrs Oliver that the manhole covers, on Kempston Road near Bedford Hospital, are the responsibility of Anglian Water and that it approached the company in 2009 to ask it to effect repairs.

“These dangerous holes were reported to Anglian Water 18 months ago,” said Mrs Oliver.

“I am outraged that repeated requests by the council to make them safe appear to have been ignored.

“It is sheer luck that these serious road defects haven’t caused an accident before now. It’s just a matter of time before a cyclist is thrown under a car when their bike hits a hole.”

The councillor added that road users swerving to avoid the holes in the road had created an additional danger.

“Thousands of cars, cyclists and motorcyclist pass over these dangerous covers every day,” she explained.

“I travel this route daily and I’ve repeatedly seen cars and bikes swerve to avoid them.

“I can’t believe that Anglian Water hasn’t taken notice of the council’s requests to rebuild the sunken covers.

“Enough is enough, I have now asked the council to take immediate action to make the road safe and recharge the costs back to Anglian Water.”

A spokesman for Anglian Water told Bedford Today that it was trying to identify the exact problem that needed remedying, but added: “We have not been able to find anything out at the moment. We are investigating what is going on and we hope to get it sorted out as soon as possible.”

The fact that the problem seems to be a rather large hole in the road at a specified location hopefully means that it will take them a little less than 18 months to conclude their enquiries.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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