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Residents predict road chaos
RESIDENTS, businesses and commuters along the coast road are bracing themselves for chaos when the road closes in Abbotsury for three months.
Villagers in Shipton Gorge and Burton Bradstock are already expecting disruption as motorists try to find a way around an official 42-mile diversion when the road is repaired near Freshwater for a fortnight from September 16.
Wessex Water also plans to replace old asbestos drains in Abbotsbury with plastic pipes and says the narrow streets will mean a three-month closure.
The company had planned to do the work in October but pressure from the Ilchester Estate and some businesses prompted them to move the date to January 6.
Ilchester Arms landlord Colin Boxshall, pictured right, remembers the impact road closures had a few years ago.
He said: “It is going to effect us without a doubt.
“It has got to be done and there is never a good time to do something like this.
“They reckon 10,000 cars come through here every day.”
He said trying to claim reduction in business rates was very difficult and suggested it might have been better to split the work up into monthly blocks.
Marlon Cordes of Chapel Stores said a meeting for businesses was held a few weeks ago and the general consensus was January was the best time.
He said: “I am confident the water company will compensate us and other traders if we are affected.”
He said if the water company was prepared to act on concerns and lot of could be remedied.
“If they manage the situation very well I don’t envisage any great difficulties. If they manage it badly then obviously there will be a consequence.”
Following pressure from residents’ representatives Barbara and Peter Laurie, Alan Marler, Wessex Water design engineer and his colleague project manager Brian Sheppey came to the village last week.
Mrs Laurie said: “Residents felt they had been left out of the planning, and that their concerns were not being taken into account.
“Nobody doubts that the job, though regrettably inconvenient, is essential. There have been more than 30 burst mains over the last few years.
“However annoyance was caused by the news that a couple of local traders had orchestrated a change in the start date for the work, from late October, to January 6.”
Meeting about proposals
A public meeting will be held on September 17 from 7 to 9pm in the Strangways village hall and the exhibition with plans and explanations will also be in the village Hall, on Tuesday October 8 from 2pm to 8 pm.
A spokesman for Wessex Water said: “We are in the very early stages of planning this.
“The main keeps bursting and for us to access it, we have to close the road – it is physically impossible otherwise.
“We are doing all we can do to minimise the inconvenience and we are considering options like organising a shuttle bus.
“We are using a special engineering technique to keep the closure to a minimum. If we had to use traditional methods it would take very much longer than 12 weeks.”
The diversion will direct traffic to the A35 and A354.
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