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£400k gas project to cause further delays
Bridport is bracing itself for more gas main chaos next week but gasworks bosses have pledged that this time “it will go like clockwork”.
Southern Gas Networks (SGN) is due to start the next phase of the work to replace the town’s old gas main on Monday, October 1 as part of a programme developed with the Health and Safety Executive.
The existing metal gas mains and services in South Street and East Street are being replaced with modern plastic polyethylene pipes in a £400,000 project to ensure a safe and reliable gas supply to the area.
Since it began in South Street last year, the project has been plagued by traffic chaos, delays and three attempts at resurfacing the road.
SGN had to stop work in November 2011 to secure listed building consent for some of the gas service pipe installations.
Severe engineering difficulties were then encountered with the pipe network, meaning only about a third of phase one was completed before the Christmas deadline.
Phase one was eventually completed at the end of March, although ongoing site monitoring revealed failures in the carriageway resurfacing scheme.
The work had to be done again in April. Safety checks then revealed further problems with the quality of the reinstatement, meaning that it had to be done for a third time.
The rescheduling of the project follows discussions between Southern Gas Networks, Dorset County Council, Bridport Town Council and local Chamber of trade and commerce.
SGN construction manager Colin Horne said: “We’d like to reassure local residents that we are committed to ensuring the project is completed as quickly as possible.
“We have put measures in places to achieve this.
“After the difficulties we’ve experienced to date, we are determined that this time, the job goes like clockwork.
“We’d also like to thank residents for their patience and apologise for the earlier delays.
“We will be doing everything we can to minimise disruption.”
Traders with businesses in South Street are concerned by the effect of the road closure but seem resigned to the inevitable disruption.
Mervyn Ashford, of the Beach and Barnicott, said he thought the closure would be a chance to test out how a regular Saturday pedestrianisation of the Bucky Doo Square area could work.
“Although closing South Street is very disruptive, I know this work has to be done and it should mean an end to all the minor leaks and problems.
“It will be interesting to see how it operates with the road closed. I guess we have got to feel the pain to get the gain.”
Steph Garner, from Bridport Music, said: “There is nothing we can do we have just got to put up with it.
“It is has been a funny old year with the weather and the Olympics, which was not particularly good for trade, although it was a very nice thing and a feel-good factor for the country.
“We have caught up a bit now and we’ve had a last-minute summer flurry but what with that, the weather and the previous gasworks and now the next lot, I think this year we will just have to shrug our shoulders and weather the storm.”