Shops fear as major roadworks start

SHOPPERS are being urged not to boycott Dovercourt town centre at the beginning of next year despite the threat of serious traffic disruption.

Roddy Ashworth

SHOPPERS are being urged not to boycott Dovercourt town centre at the beginning of next year despite the threat of serious traffic disruption.

Gas pipeline company National Grid is due to begin work on Monday January 5 to upgrade almost half a mile of gas mains in the town's High Street, Waddesdon Road and parts of Victoria Street and East Street.

But despite plans for diversions and temporary traffic lights, local councillor Garry Calver said that during the current economic downturn it was important people supported local businesses, which have already seen their trading figures drop.

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Mr Calver, a Harwich town councillor and Tendring district councillor for Harwich East Central ward, said: “Obviously there will be concerns that town centre trading is not disrupted more than is absolutely necessary during this important work, but unfortunately it is one of those things that has to be done.

“But at a time when town centre businesses need all the support they can get, I would not want this work to be seen as a reason to avoid Dovercourt town centre.

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“With the correct traffic management, there is no reason why this should have too much of a major impact on congestion in the area.”

The £140,000 project, which will be carried out by Morrison Utility Services, will be undertaken in phases.

Phase one, which starts on January 5 and is due for completion on 9 February, will see pipes replaced at the junction of Kingsway and High Street.

In phase two the mains will be replaced in High Street, from Kingsway to Station Road and Bay Road.

During phase three, work will take place in the junction of High Street, Station Road and Bay Road.

This will mean there will be no access for motorists from the High Street into either road.

In the final phase pipes will be replaced from Station Road and Bay Road to Barrack Lane. Temporary traffic lights and a contraflow will be in place along this stretch of road while the works are under way.

Alongside the High Street mains replacement, new pipes will be installed in Waddesdon Road, from January 19 to February 23, and in Victoria Street and East Street, from February 16 to March 9.

Construction engineer Ian Leeder said: “This is essential work that will enable local people to continue to enjoy safe and reliable gas supplies for many years to come.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by our works to local residents and motorists and assure people that every effort will be made to keep this to a minimum.

“The work has been timed to avoid both the busy Christmas period and the summer season.

“We have worked with the local highways authority on traffic management measures and we aim to complete the works safely and as quickly as we can.”

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