B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

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jervi
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B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

Post by jervi » Sun Jan 17, 2021 17:41

I was just looking for walking routes and discovered that the B2036 has some weird bend outside the apparent highway alignment.
Between Brook Street and Balcombe there are some odd earthworks and boundaries beside the road and may of been for a larger bridge over the river Ouse (although has never been navigable beyond the London-Brighton Railway), as well as making the horizonal alignment better while keeping the vertical alignment not too steep.
Looking at old maps it happened at some point between 1912 and 1956.
B2036 Old.PNG
- 1950s/1960s 1:2.5k OS
B2036.PNG
B2036.PNG (39.41 KiB) Viewed 375 times
- 1:25k today OS

Just as a note the B2036 is a very good B road for its age, although it doesn't carry much traffic (4k AADT), in comparison the C-class road the other side of the railway carries 6k AADT and has a much worse alignment. Before the A23 was duelled I presume using the B2036 was a popular alternative (both the north and southern ends on the B2036 are on the A23 at Pyecome and Horley) which explains why it has such a smooth alignment and wide highway boundaries.

Looking at data from Crash Map over the past 21 years there has been 17 crashes recorded, with 1 being fatal and 5 serious in just the section around the bends, and there are snificantly more crashes there than on the rest of the route between Cuckfield & Balcome

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Re: B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

Post by Steven » Sun Jan 17, 2021 17:46

jervi wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 17:41
Looking at old maps it happened at some point between 1912 and 1956.
Have you tried looking at SABRE Maps? There's a lot more One Inch mapping than on Old Maps, and that may well assist you in pinning this date down a little.
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SouthWest Philip
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Re: B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

Post by SouthWest Philip » Sun Jan 17, 2021 17:49

Abandoned road straightening scheme maybe? Your timeframes suggest the war could have got in the way.

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Re: B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

Post by Truvelo » Sun Jan 17, 2021 17:53

I would assume there was a plan at some point to reroute the A23 via Three Bridges, Balcombe, Cuckfield, Burgess Hill and Hassocks. The cutting for the realigned bends looks wide enough for D2 and no way would this be done for a B road unless there was an intention for it to become more important. The distance for this route compared to the A23 at the time is about the same and it would avoid Crawley.
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jervi
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Re: B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

Post by jervi » Sun Jan 17, 2021 18:44

Steven wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 17:46
jervi wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 17:41
Looking at old maps it happened at some point between 1912 and 1956.
Have you tried looking at SABRE Maps? There's a lot more One Inch mapping than on Old Maps, and that may well assist you in pinning this date down a little.
I had a look but since the carriageway has remained in the same location, all the maps look the same.
SouthWest Philip wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 17:49
Abandoned road straightening scheme maybe? Your timeframes suggest the war could have got in the way.
Potentially that could be it.
Truvelo wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 17:53
I would assume there was a plan at some point to reroute the A23 via Three Bridges, Balcombe, Cuckfield, Burgess Hill and Hassocks. The cutting for the realigned bends looks wide enough for D2 and no way would this be done for a B road unless there was an intention for it to become more important. The distance for this route compared to the A23 at the time is about the same and it would avoid Crawley.
This could very much be true, although I've never seen any written evidence of it, as I said above it is very well built for its age, and is certainly better than most of the A272. Once restrictions are lifted I might go to the local achieves and see if I can find anything of interest. Much of it does feel wide enough for a dual carriageway once you cut back the vegetation. - I measured it to be about 30m which is about a typical width of a D2 from the time.

Also I've had a look along the rest of the route and it appears like some similar highway boundaries extended out from the edge for a suspiciously wide highway.
South of Balcombe
Through Balcombe - I imagine houses along the western side would be demolished to make way, as well as a widened/new railway bridge
North of Balcombe - This part of the B2036 has been rebuilt, so now the local properties are on a service road. Oldmaps showing between the 1960s and 1980s revisions
Further North of Balcombe - Here the map shows new boundaries on both sides of the road. On the eastern side this boundary no longer exists on the ground and did contain two dwellings, the boundary on the western side is remains but has become woodland. It appears that maybe 16 dwellings would of been demolished, although these are likely were council houses so would of been easier to remove than private ones.
The odd boundaries continue intermittently north, all the way to the A23 at Horley. South of Cuckfield there doesn't appear to be any widened highway boundaries.

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Re: B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

Post by Ross Spur » Sun Jan 17, 2021 19:08

There were notices under the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act 1935 in Sussex newspapers in March and September 1945 for a proposed diversion north of Brook Street from 260 yards north-east of the junction with Pilstye Lane, UC.807 to 300 yards south of that junction. Widths stated were 120 feet and 140 feet. It was a scheme of the County Council of East Sussex and approved by Ministry of Transport.

Since it mentioned "proposed" it points to post war but I've not come across any reports about work starting or stopping.

Balcombe Parish Council called the section "Pilstye Bends" in its 2012 minutes re drainage works and road closure https://balcombeparishcouncil.files.wor ... l-2012.pdf

It's a bit of a mystery.

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Re: B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

Post by jervi » Sun Jan 17, 2021 19:31

Ross Spur wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 19:08
There were notices under the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act 1935 in Sussex newspapers in March and September 1945 for a proposed diversion north of Brook Street from 260 yards north-east of the junction with Pilstye Lane, UC.807 to 300 yards south of that junction. Widths stated were 120 feet and 140 feet. It was a scheme of the County Council of East Sussex and approved by Ministry of Transport.

Since it mentioned "proposed" it points to post war but I've not come across any reports about work starting or stopping.

Balcombe Parish Council called the section "Pilstye Bends" in its 2012 minutes re drainage works and road closure https://balcombeparishcouncil.files.wor ... l-2012.pdf
Good finds.
From the wording of the junction of Pilstye Lane, it sounds like it is the junction to the south, not the one at the bends. (TQ 30624 27553 / -0.1385,51.033) Since the road there is in a NE & S direction, rather than the N & SW direction of the junction at the bends (in the OP). Also the bends/junction in the OP are across the parish boundary into Balcome, so I doubt the road here is called "Brook Street" like it called in Cuckfield Rural (now known as Ansty & Staplefield). Blue Xs are where I measured it from. This would of smoothened out the alignment over the stream as well a potentially moving the dwellings onto a service road and making the junction with Pilstye Lane (Cherry Lane) much safer.
Pilstye Lane.PNG

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Re: B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

Post by Ross Spur » Sun Jan 17, 2021 20:23

jervi wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 19:31

From the wording of the junction of Pilstye Lane, it sounds like it is the junction to the south, not the one at the bends.
That makes sense... I'd just seen the lane going to Pilstye Farm and didn't check the directions. The notices do say it is in the parish of Cuckfield Rural. Notices could be inspected at County Hall, Lewes.

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Re: B2036 Incomplete old straightening works?

Post by jervi » Sun Jan 17, 2021 22:14

Also as an interest piece, when the M23 was built it accommodated the B2036 with two-span bridges to allow for future dualing.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.15946 ... 312!8i6656 - M23 Spur
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.13238 ... 384!8i8192 - A2011 (built at the same time as the M23), so clearly there was still appetite for the B2036 to become a DC even after the M23 was built in 1975.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.11043 ... 384!8i8192 - Although when the Maidenbower neighbourhood was built in the 1990s the B2036 wasn't given enough room to be dualled (although no structures are backing onto the road, or any direct access onto the road, so is still feasible to dual when required with CPO).

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