Traffic chaos may end in three weeksBy Nick Edmondson
November 15, 2012
TRAFFIC chaos on one of Aldershot’s busiest streets could be over in three weeks, rather than the four months forecast.
Work to replace an 80-year-old water main in busy Ash Road has been a constant source of complaints from residents and businesses.
However South East Water now claims it will be able to reopen the road before Christmas, news which will be gratefully received by residents who previously understood the closure would continue into 2013.
The £249,000 project first had its 29-week timeline shortened when the company announced it would use a new, faster technique to lay piping.
Residents of nearby streets had made repeated complaints over the number of vehicles, including large HGVs, using their roads as a rat run, while peak hours saw the surrounding roads grind to a halt with traffic. Businesses in the area had complained that the road closure meant they would lose vital customers over the Christmas period.
James Smith, delivery manager for SE Water, said: “We anticipate after three weeks, and subject to agreement from Hampshire Highways officers, we should be able to lift the road closure and put temporary traffic lights in place instead.”
Before the road can be reopened a number of changes to the diversion system will be made. Road closures will be set up at the junctions of Ash Road and Institute Road, Coleman Road and Chrismas Avenue in an attempt to stop traffic using them as a cut-through. The junctions of Newport Roads with the three roads will be partially blocked, allowing residents to gain access, while making it impossible for HGVs to drive through.
“We hope that the changes we are making will help life run a bit smoother for those who live around Ash Road,” Mr Smith added. “The measures we are introducing should prevent the large volume of traffic currently using side streets as a cut through but will still mean easy access for residents. We will keep listening to the community to see if there are any further improvements that can be made.”
The faster work became possible when workers on the site discovered an old abandoned gas pipe in the area being worked on.
That pipe can be used as a protective sleeve for the new water main.
The new water pipe will be specially treated to ensure there is no contamination.
Hampshire county councillor for Aldershot East Eric Neal said: “I am sure that all of Aldershot will be pleased to see that Ash Road will be shortly usable to all.
“Therefore I would like to thank SE Water responding to everyone’s concerns.
“I know highways officers have worked hard in conveying concerns that the original 29 weeks for completion for works was unacceptable.”
Rushmoor councillor Mike Roberts said he will call for an inquiry into the poor management of the roadworks and diversions, which caused so many problems for residents.