Those Lowestoft roadworks have gone at last
MOTORISTS and traders in Lowestoft breathed a sigh of relief this week after the saga of the Station Square roadworks finally came to an end – but the debate over the disruption looks set to rumble on.
After six weeks of traffic congestion – and complaints that shoppers were avoiding the town centre – a �130,000 scheme to repair a damaged was completed last Friday, one week behind schedule.
Cones and temporary traffic lights have now been removed by contractors, allowing north-bound traffic to turn right onto Waveney Road from Station Square and sparing some drivers a diversion of up to a mile.
But, after a series of complaints about the way Anglian Water publicised, planned and carried out the work, Waveney MP Peter Aldous, is hoping to meet company representatives to discuss the six-week saga.
Mr Aldous told The Journal: 'It is very good news that have finished. But lessons do need to be learnt from this. 'There was little notification about the work and the disruption it would cause to people and businesses.'
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The main benefit was that the sewer had been repaired and should no longer pose any problems, he added.
As previously reported in The Journal, Anglian Water came under fire for not informing Waveney District Council about the work in advance and for then repeatedly changing the proposed deadline for its completion.
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Some stores said the resulting congestion had been so bad that it had discouraged people from driving into the town centre to do their shopping – causing them to suffer a marked fall in trade and prompting Lowestoft Town centre manager Emma King to demand that Anglian Water pay compensation to those affected.
Lowestoft mayor Tod Sullivan said this week that he was 'really pleased' the works had finally been completed for the sake of the town's businesses. He said that while the roadworks were in place, they had added up to 15 minutes to his journey to work from his home in Carlton Colville to the town centre.
The work started on Monday, January 23 and was due to last five weeks. However, Anglian Water then announced the repairs were due for an early finish on February 8 – only for this deadline and a subsequent one to pass because of problems with the installation of a new sewer line, which involved the use of a robot.
Fears were then raised that Station Square might remain coned off until March 8, but the problems were resolved.
A spokesman for Anglia Water said: 'They have been very important works and they needed to be done.
'Working on a sewer is never ideal and we have tried to minimise disruption. We tried to plan them for less busy times of the year by doing the work now rather than over Christmas. Like the Lowestoft residents, we are relieved these works are done. We are sorry, but it is inevitable when working with sewers, but these are vital works.'