Farnborough and Blackwater residents are concerned the road works, which are running behind schedule, will cause delays once children return to school next week
A major project to install a 1.9km pipe to improve water services to the Farnborough area is behind schedule.
South East Water started to dig up Fernhill Road, the main route from Farnborough to Blackwater, on May 20. Three months into the nine-month job, the utility company has admitted there have been delays.
People living in Blackwater and Farnborough have said the road closures to complete the £513,000 project had been disruptive but bearable as the roads are quieter in the school holidays.
However, anxiety is mounting as children return to school next week and motorists do not want to see the same delays experienced in Reading Road, when the utility company encountered faults during its water mains operation in Yateley.
Councillor Adrian Collett, who lives in Blackwater and chairs Blackwater and Hawley Town Council, said: “People are choosing their routes carefully to avoid the area of the works and I have not heard too many complaints.
“Although it will be worse when they move up into the Hawley end of Fernhill Road and that section is then closed off in stages.
“It will be a particular challenge for Hawley Place School and the parents dropping off and collecting children, who will only be able to get in from the Hawley end for some of the time.”
Town councillor Keith Clarke, of Frogmore Park Drive, Blackwater, said: “It is awkward for people coming in and out of this area, but the road works seem to be going alright.
“But then again the schools are off which makes life a bit easier. It is a bit of a nuisance taking the diversions.”
Councillor Alan Ferrier of Dart Road, Farnborough, represents Fernhill Ward at Rushmoor Borough Council. He described the current road works as an "inconvenience" but a project that could not have been avoided as water supply was "low in this area".
He said: “We have to live with it, as long as they do not over-run too far as it will impact on the next set of works planned.”
He said he and his colleagues were looking into compensation for traders as they had suffered as a result of the road closures.
A temporary road closure with a diversion route is in place along Fernhill Road close to the M3 motorway bridge.
Initially South East Water had planned to reopen the road from August 12 but it is now in discussions with its contractor to find out why there has been a delay and to "understand the issues behind it".
James Smith, delivery manager at South East Water, thanked residents for their patience so far and for the "consideration" shown to its workforce on site.
“We are still working in the section of road that includes the M3 motorway bridge,” he added. “Following which construction will progress to lay the new water main across the Sandy Lane and Chapel Lane roundabout.
“We are behind schedule but hope to get back on target to lay the strategic pipeline, to secure future water supplies to the area, by February next year.”
Motorists in Farnborough will have more road works to contend with as South East Water wants to install more than 1km of strategic water main from Fleet Road, along Cove Road and Bridge Road, up to the junction of Cove Road and Prospect Road.
Work is due to start in September next year and will take five months to complete.