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Reason for long-running Stowmarket roadworks revealed

PUBLISHED: 11:09 05 December 2018

The site of the road works in Stowmarket. Picture: NIKKY ELMER

The site of the road works in Stowmarket. Picture: NIKKY ELMER

Archant

They have caused traffic chaos in a Suffolk town, with traders claiming it is damaging takings in the run-up to Christmas.

But now the firm behind the roadworks causing frustration amongst motorists in Stowmarket have revealed the reason behind the length of the works.

The works on the B1115, next to St Peter and St Mary’s Church, are said to have trebled traffic times as Cadent - which runs and maintains parts of the East Anglian gas network - works on underground pipes dating back to the 1950s.

Having started on Monday, October 29, the works were due to last approximately three weeks.

But because the existing pipes are deeper than expected, it has taken workers longer - as specialist equipment has been needed.

A spokesman for Cadent said: “We are currently carrying out essential work to upgrade the local gas network in Station Road West (B1115) and Church Walk in Stowmarket.

“The work must be done to help ensure local homes, businesses and community facilities keep on enjoying safe and reliable gas supplies for cooking and heating.”

“The work began on the road on Monday, October 29 and it was originally planned for the works to take three weeks.

“However, because the existing pipes were deeper than expected and specialist equipment was needed to get down to the pipes, they have taken longer.

“Properties in the area should have received letters prior to the work starting. Customer services also visited the area and advance warning signs also were deployed.

“Under certain circumstances, small businesses which feel they have been adversely affected by our work may be eligible for compensation if certain criteria are met.”

Work is now due be finished by Friday, December 14.

However Cadent will have to continue in January to complete their planned maintenance.

The spokesman added: “Work has been carefully planned in close discussion with the local authorities to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.”

Businesses have spoken of significant losses since the introduction of the roadworks.

Nicky Elmer, who co-owns Molls and Dolls, a women’s fashion shop on the corner of the junction between B1115 and Market Place, said: “We get no traffic driving past anymore, which means we get fewer people stopping and coming in.

“A large portion of our business is from people popping in as they travel past. It’s tough because it is coming up to Christmas which is a busy time.

“The work does need to go ahead, it is just the noise and the lack of information which has annoyed us.”

Jana Tarling, who runs Petite Pancakes - which is next door to Molls and Dolls - said: “I would definitely say that business is down this month.

“It’s not very nice for customers to be here eating and to see that view outside the window.

“We have lost a lot of business because there are no cars coming past.

“We may have been able to plan a little bit if we knew about it earlier but we haven’t been told anything.”

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