TRADERS, residents and motorists in Bridport are facing a further five months of disruption with road closures and temporary traffic lights when works to replace the town’s gas main re-starts.
South Street and East Street will be dug up for a total of 20 weeks in two phases when the project gets under way again.
Work on the next phase in South Street, from Gundry Lane to the north side of the Town Hall traffic lights is set to begin on October 1, stopping for December and the Christmas period.
The next phase, from the Town Hall along East Street to Barrack Street will begin in the New Year on January 8, finishing on March 23.
Town surveyor Daryl Chambers revealed details of the scheme to councillors on the plans committee this week.
He pledged that a public meeting would be held before October so that people affected by the South Street works – which will mean a complete closure of the road – can find out more about how it will affect them.
A further meeting will also be planned for people concerned about the East Street works.
Mr Chambers said that Southern Gas Networks – which is carrying out the work, that started in lower South Street earlier this year and was plagued by problems and delays – had suggested doing all the rest of the work at once.
“The disruption would be horrendous,” said Mr Chambers.
“This way we let the shops have a clear run in December for Christmas. Then it starts again and finishes for Easter.”
Mr Chambers said that South Street will have to be completely closed because the gas main is in the middle of the carriageway as it nears the Town Hall. East Street will require one-way traffic controlled by temporary lights.
The first phase of the gas main replacement in South Street was followed by three attempts to resurface the road to a proper standard. Eventually the county council stepped in and used its own contractors to complete the third resurface.
Coun Phil Lathey said that the road surface should be thoroughly inspected before the work starts and he urged Southern Gas Networks to liaise closely with the county council.
Mr Chambers said SGN previously used its own contractors.
He added: “And that proved to be the downfall of the whole thing. Dorset County Council will keep a close eye and I hope that they will do the reinstatement work this time.”