VILLAGERS in Abbotsbury celebrated today as significant water works were finished a month ahead of schedule.

The Weymouth to Bridport coast road, which has been closed at Abbotsbury since Monday January 6, is now expected to reopen tomorrow.

The B3157 has been closed to through traffic whilst work has taken place, with a full diversion put in via the A35 to Dorchester.

Businesses remained open whilst work was carried out by Wessex Water in West Street, Market Street and Rodden Row.

Workers replaced the road main which had burst around 30 times in the last 15 years.

Sean Dunne, contracts manager for Wessex Water, said: “We have basically relayed all the mains through Abbotsbury, which has equated to about 1,200m of length and we allowed 12 weeks to do the job.

“Due to the efforts of the team, design and construction, we have delivered that in eight weeks.”

Mr Dunne added: “That’s a credit to the lads working late nights and weekends to get it done because of the sensitivity of the village.”

Wessex Water has worked closely with villagers and the parish council. Mr Dunne thanked residents for their patience and their continued support.

Stephen Bellenie, owner of The Bellenie’s Bakehouse, congratulated the crew by baking a special cake and offering them a free breakfast.

He said: “It is just a thanks to Wessex Water and all their crew for a job well done before schedule.

“They have been here six days a week in all weathers, never grumbling, just getting on with the job and I think everyone’s pleased with the progress.”

Work was originally scheduled to finish on March 29. Wessex Water provided a shuttle bus service to ensure residents remained connected to the village.

Michaela Cordes, co-manager of Chapel Lane Stores, said the works had a big effect on business.

“People couldn’t come through. We as a village shop aren’t just for the villagers, we are also for the foreigners and especially on the bank holiday, they didn’t come.

“But I have to say it was the best time to do it and it needed to be done. I’m really looking forward to next week as business is back to normal again.”

John Houston, general manager for Abbotsbury Tourism, said he was grateful for the speed in which Wessex Water worked.

He said: “To pull out all the stops and get this road finished is absolutely fantastic and we are very grateful to them for doing what was a very necessary job.

“We have got a run up into Easter now which we might not have have before, thanks to their hard work.”

Arthur Cartlidge, 77, who’s lived in Abbotsbury for 13 years, said the workers had been ‘great’.

He said: “They have kept the traffic running through as far as they can. I wouldn’t complain at all.”