It has taken much longer than anyone could have expected, but the road project is now complete. The
initial plan has undergone various changes having to do with funding limitations, the need to renew the village's
drainage arrangements prior to resurfacing, and accommodation of conflicting views of residents, but it is hoped that the
compromise which has been achieved will satisfy most.
Most residents contributed in terms of funding or labour or both, and thanks go to them all. Special thanks go to Phil
Yates, without whose cheerful contribution of his professional expertise the project would never have come to fruition. Many thanks
also to the Parish Council for a generous contribution, which turned out to be crucial to completion. Here's a brief summary.
Despite being the metropolis of Skelsmergh & Scalthwaiterigg, not much happens in Mealbank. Not much,
that is, except erosion. After years of neglect and increasing traffic, the road through Mealbank had deteriorated
quite badly. Here are some pictures of it in that condition; click on thumbnail for a larger image.
There was general agreement that something had to be done. Discussions were undertaken, letters were sent, contributions
toward the cost of repair were collected, obstacles were overcome. Then came the rains of December 2015. Compared to the
flooding in Kendal and other Cumbrian towns and villages, Mealbank got off lightly. The road suffered, though.
In the aftermath, attempts were made to patch things up. The worst of the potholes were filled and a burst
concrete drainpipe was repaired.
But it quickly became clear that patching up was not going to be sufficient. New drains were
required. The work was begun in mid-January 2016 by volunteers from the village and funded by the above-mentioned
contributions to road repair.
Having completed the drainage work, road resurfacing began in July 2016. The plan was to start
at the top of the village and work downwards. Here are some pictures of the first phase, which involved laying of parallel
concrete tracks for durability, with hardcore infill between them to retain the road's rustic character and, of course,
to save money.
Here's how it looked with hardcore infill added, after about three weeks' use.
Thereafter we moved down through the village as opportunity and weather permitted.
My role in the project has given me insight into the possibilities, but also the limitations, of
the concept of community. The best part of the experience has been the positive support of a select band of neighbours,
for which I am grateful.