South East Water praised for finishing town roadworks earlyBy Jon Nurse
March 21, 2013
Disruptive water works in the town centre have finished early, putting an end to diversions and delays.
Drivers breathed a sigh of relief when Shute End opened to all traffic on Monday evening, two weeks ahead of schedule, as work to install 7km of new pipeline in the town enters its last phase.
James Grue, manager of the Giggling Spring cafe in Shute End, said: “They’ve been working really fast and hard. They’ve been in the shop lots as well.
“They are all really nice guys and they’ve been as helpful as they can be. I’ve been really impressed.”
Early estimates predicted the water mains replacement works would last until the end of April in the town centre.
Jason Payne, 43, of Finchampstead, said: “It’s not been as bad as I thought it would be. I work in the offices opposite and the main concern was keeping access to them but they’ve done really well.”
Councillor Keith Baker, executive member for highways and planning, said: “It has been clear since construction began that South East Water and their contractors have worked extremely hard throughout the programme of work to reduce the impact on the community.
“Completing the town centre work early is great news not just for the water company, but for residents, motorists and businesses as disruption to the town has been dramatically reduced.”
The road closures have come at a cost to town businesses who have reported drops in sales of up to 40 per cent.
Eddy Lau, manager of Wokingham Pharmacy in Broad Street, said: “Walk-in customers have really gone down because people have been avoiding the town – especially at the beginning [when they were] in Peach Street. People haven’t been using the Waitrose car park as they could to still come into town.
“Since Shute End opened up one-way [on Thursday] it has helped a lot. For a while it was like a ghost town.”
James Smith, delivery manager for South East Water, said: “We always knew the work in Broad Street and Shute End was going to be the most disruptive to the community so we worked hard to complete the work as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Work continues in Toutley Road and Matthewsgreen Road and will also affect Plough Lane from Monday, taking around eight weeks to complete.
Mr Smith added: “As well as continuing the installation of the water mains in the residential areas, further work is taking place around the town to complete the testing of the new water mains and connect the new pipelines to the existing network.
“I would like to thank the community for their on-going patience.”
Further information can be found at www.southeastwater.co.uk/wokingham.