Overnight investigative work on Marlow Obelisk planned for next week
Investigative works will be carried out on the Marlow obelisk overnight next Wednesday, 23 August, ahead of the three week conservation work expected to start later this year.
Wednesday night’s works, which will begin at 9pm and continue until the early hours of the Thursday morning, will help to establish the scale and specific requirements of the upcoming conservation efforts.
The outcome of Wednesday night’s works will help to determine when the full conservation project can go ahead, as it will make clear precisely what work is needed and how the traffic management, such as the diversion and traffic light arrangement, will work.
Transport for Buckinghamshire hope to start the work this October and anticipate it will take three weeks, but will know more after the investigation is complete. Ideally the works period will include October half term to take advantage of the quieter than usual traffic, but residents and local businesses can rest assured that the works will not be scheduled to conflict with the busy Christmas shopping season.
The historic landmark, which sits at the centre of the roundabout at the top of the High Street, was erected in 1822 as a waypoint marker for travelling coaches. It has deteriorated in recent years and whole sections of stone lettering have broken away.
The renovation works will be carried out by a specialist contractor who will clean and repair the monolith and re-engrave the damaged lettering using photographs and records to ensure the restoration is faithful to the original appearance of the Grade II listed monument.
“We’re delighted that the obelisk will be repaired, and hopefully before the busiest time of the year – Christmas!” Jocelyn Towns, Marlow’s mayor, said. “Transport for Buckinghamshire has said they will do their utmost to complete the works in the shortest possible time and with the least possible disruption to the local area. There will be short delays due to the traffic lights, so we hope people will prepare in advance for their journeys during the period.”
The diversion and traffic lights will be in place 24 hours a day for the duration of the works, even though at times there may be no contractors on site. County Councillor Paul Irwin, who is Deputy Cabinet Member for Transportation, explained the need for the 24/7 diversion: “I hope that residents will bear with the work this autumn, and understand that the 24 hour closure is necessary even though contractors will not always be on site, as they need to allow time for materials to cure before continuing – they will, however, be encouraged to work weekends to speed the process along.
"There’s no denying that the conservation work will cause some traffic issues, but the people of Marlow have campaigned to see the obelisk restored to its former glory for a long time and I think the end product will be worth the disruption.”