Sidmouth gas pipe works should end today

Gas pipe work begins in Salcombe Road next week

ROADS in Sidmouth should be back to normal by the end of today after Wales and West Utilities confirmed to the Sidmouth Herald that its work in Vicarage Road would be completed by this evening.

However, there won’t be much of a respite as the company plans to start similar gas pipe replacement works in Salcombe Road next week.

A spokeswoman for WWU said: “Our work in Vicarage Road is expected to be completed this Friday evening when the road will reopen. The next phase of our work will take place on Salcombe Road from Monday, November 29 until Friday, December 17.

“For the safety of road users, pedestrians and the workforce involved in the project, three way traffic lights will be in place during this time.

“We will remove our roadworks over Christmas and resume work in the New Year to minimise the amount of disruption over the festive period.

“All traffic management measures were discussed and agreed with the local Highways Authority prior to the start of the scheme.

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“We would like to thank local residents and businesses for bearing with us whilst this essential work is carried out.”

Sidmouth traders have been up in arms over the Vicarage Road closure, saying they had not been consulted before it was closed. It has badly affected some businesses’ trade.

But the WWU spokeswoman said: “We have held regular consultations with members of the local council and representatives acting on behalf of local traders and kept them informed of our plans and progress throughout the duration of the scheme.”

The work forms part of a multi-million pound 30-year replacement programme across Wales and the South West to replace old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings, with non-corroding plastic pipes that will last 80 years or more.

Devon County Council granted a week’s extension last week to WWU to complete the Vicarage Road work and said British Telecom had been carrying out cabling works in Vicarage Road during the road closure, following on to Temple Street and Woolbrook Road.

“At a date yet to be scheduled after Christmas, Western Power Distribution also has to provide a new supply to a shop in Fore Street as well as placing additional cabling to upgrade supplies in other areas,” said the DCC spokesman.

Once utility works are completed, the council plans to resurface the road over four consecutive Sundays.

This work has to be completed by the end of next March.

Devon County Councillor Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said if the scheme hadn’t been completed now it would have meant closing Vicarage Road again at a later date to complete the works.

“Properties along the road would be left with temporary service pipes supplying their gas during the winter period, which may not be able to meet demand,” he said.

“Following the recent gas explosion we have seen in Barnstaple, I felt the better and safer option was for the company to fully complete its work. Otherwise it would also put all of the other utility schemes behind, which have been co-ordinated to minimise disruption, and could even mean that we lose our funding for resurfacing.”

The extension of the closure was agreed at a meeting was held between Devon County Council, Morrissons on behalf of Wales and West Utilities, and Carillion Telent on behalf of BT and Western Power Distribution held last Thursday.