Town centre havoc
ROADS will be thrown into chaos in the New Year as three months of major roadworks stop traffic in Weston's High Street, Orchard Street, Herluin Way, Banwell, Uphill and Redhill
ROADS will be thrown into chaos in the New Year as three months of major roadworks stop traffic in Weston's High Street, Orchard Street, Herluin Way, Banwell, Uphill and Redhill.The work by Wales and West Utilities (WWU) to replace 1.5km of gas pipes is due to start just as the shops begin their January sales.Work will begin on January 8 in Orchard Street followed by Alexandra Parade, Regent Street, Walliscote Road, High Street and Knightstone Road and is expected to take 16 weeks.Ray Monelle, Orchard Meadow Traders' Association chairman, said: "We are concerned. It's a worry any time of year and it's bound to stop people coming in if the roads are closed. But if it's got to be done it's got to be done."The £500,000 project is part of a multi-million pound replacement programme across South West England and Wales to improve the safety of gas supplies to people and businesses in the area. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings will be replaced with highly durable, non-corroding plastic pipes expected to last more than 80 years.Paul Breakey, WWU Project Manager, said: "This work is essential to bring improved safety of supply to local people. We have been in detailed discussions with the local Highways Authority to ensure that disruption to road users, residents and businesses is kept to an absolute minimum and we are also ensuring that local people are kept fully informed of the project."The gas network in the UK is the safest in the world and this programme of investment by Wales and West Utilities is designed to ensure it stays that way." Businesses will be open as usual and pedestrians and delivery vehicles will be able to access shops at the normal times.Traffic disruption is predicted as roads are closed to carry out the work but WWU has said the majority of the work will be completed using insertion techniques which will keep excavation to a minimum.Three months worth of work to remove the central reservation and add a filter lane to Herluin Way is also due to start on the same day.Delays are expected as 24 hour lane closures are set up to enable Asda to improve access to its store.Uphill Road South in Uphill is closing on January 9 for six weeks as Wessex Water repairs the highway's sewer.West Street, Castle Hill, Dark Lane and High Street in Banwell are closing for two days on January 3 and 4 so the road can be serviced and Winters Lane in Redhill is shutting for two months while a new sewer is put in.