South West Water: ‘All options being considered’ to prevent traffic disruption in Newton Poppleford

The A3052 through Newton Poppleford. Photo: Paul Strange

The A3052 through Newton Poppleford. Photo: Paul Strange - Credit: Archant

Water utility company bosses are ‘looking at all of the available options’ to improve reliability in Newton Poppleford and end the traffic disruption caused by bursts.

South West Water (SWW) invested £500,000 in 2013 to replace a stretch of pipeline in High Street and Station Road but issues have since arisen in Exeter Road.

Devon highways chief Councillor Stuart Hughes has hit out at the ‘piecemeal’ approach to repairs after some 10 days of roadworks in the village this year.

He said: “What we are seeing now is unacceptable disruption on the only primary A-road running through the entire length of East Devon and this is having a knock on effect for businesses and those travelling to and from work.

“What we can be sure of is by fixing this in a piecemeal way that the next weakest point is bound to go soon.”

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He said that he attended a meeting with SWW last year about replacing the ‘old and antiquated’ water main to the west of the village – but the project had since been ‘shelved’.

There have been four bursts in Newton Poppleford this year, resulting in around 10 days of traffic disruption to excavate, make the necessary repairs and restore the road.

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A SWW spokeswoman said: “In 2013 there was no evidence that the main in Exeter Road needed to be replaced. Since the 2013 scheme was completed, there have been a number of bursts in Exeter Road, indicating this section of pipe needs improving.

“We have had preliminary discussions with Devon County Council regarding replacing the pipe.

“However, we appreciate how disruptive lengthy road closures and temporary traffic management can be, so we are currently looking at all the options available which could improve the reliability of our service in Newton Poppleford.

“This includes use of modern ‘trenchless’ technologies which are designed to minimise the traffic disruption and speed up completion of the work.”

The pipes pre-date SWW but its engineers believe they were laid between 1940 and 1955.

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