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Council steps in to reopen Woodbridge Road after power company left it partially closed

PUBLISHED: 12:42 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:08 27 September 2018

Woodbridge Road in Ipswich is closed for roadworks by UK Power Networks - but there is no sign of anyone working at the site. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Woodbridge Road in Ipswich is closed for roadworks by UK Power Networks - but there is no sign of anyone working at the site. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Businesses and residents beside one of the busiest roads in Ipswich have been left seething after it was closed for the fourth time this year by roadworks.

Gary Markham said trade had been hit by another road closure in Woodbridge Road Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATERGary Markham said trade had been hit by another road closure in Woodbridge Road Ipswich. Picture: PAUL GEATER

But within hours of us asking why Woodbridge Road was still closed despite work having finished at the start of the week, Suffolk Highways told UK Power Networks to reopen it to traffic.

The road has been closed to traffic coming into the town centre between the Spring Road and Rushmere Road junctions while UK Power Networks make “urgent repairs” to electricity cables.

But while there are bollards and “Road Closed” signs on the road, there are no signs of anyone working there. A patch of pavement opposite a bank has been dug up and replaced, but that was at the start of the week. Now it is due to reopen at 2.30pm on Wednesday.

After we asked about why the road was closed, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Highways said: “The reinstatement works carried out by UKPN are now complete, although the lane closure will remain in place until 2.30pm this afternoon. This is to allow the materials to cool down before the footway can be used.”

The pavement in Woodbridge Road has been patched during the work. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe pavement in Woodbridge Road has been patched during the work. Picture: PAUL GEATER

“The emergency works were necessary to restore the electricity supply to a property along Woodbridge Road, Ipswich.”

Ironically the pavement was not closed to pedestrians – people were walking on the patch without any problems this morning and no vehicles should have used it in any case.

Gary Markham has run his angling shop on Woodbridge Road for many years, and said this year’s succession of roadworks had been very frustrating.

He said: “I know they say this is an emergency – but this has really hit business. I’ve been getting far fewer casual customers and those who are making a special trip are having difficulty in getting to the shop.

“This has come on top of other work on the road earlier this year – every time business suffers.”

There was a similar story from Colin Steward at Mickelson’s butchers: “It wouldn’t be so bad if you could see something happening, but there was no one here yesterday and as you can see there’s no one here today – but the road is still closed.

“There are power problems for some businesses and homes – but there doesn’t seem to be much happening and the work that has been done is only on the pavement anyway.”

A spokesman for UK Power Networks denied the company had been “ordered” to finish early and said: “UK Power Networks engineers have completed essential repair work on an underground cable on Woodbridge Road, Ipswich ahead of schedule. For safety reasons a temporary lane closure was in place for this work.

“We appreciate the impact this had and apologise for the inconvenience caused. After the electrical work was done, we resurfaced and returned the road to normal yesterday and traffic lights were removed today. We always strive to complete work as soon as possible, workers were on site every day and we finished ahead of schedule.”

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