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No fine for gas work company despite seven-week overrun in Ipswich’s Woodbridge Road

PUBLISHED: 11:03 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:03 03 November 2017

Signs in Woodbridge Road still say work will take 10 weeks from July 10, despite having overrun that by almost seven weeks. Picture: JASON NOBLE

Signs in Woodbridge Road still say work will take 10 weeks from July 10, despite having overrun that by almost seven weeks. Picture: JASON NOBLE

Archant

A key Ipswich route which has been plagued by roadworks for nearly four months is finally set to reopen on Monday – but the contractors still won’t be fined, despite them overunning by almost seven weeks.

Woodbridge Road has been closed for 10 weeks.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Woodbridge Road has been closed for 10 weeks. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Work by Cadent to replace gas mains in Woodbridge Road began on July 10, and was due to finish by September 17, but instead ended up overrunning by nearly seven weeks.

Despite the lengthy delays, which so far Cadent have been unable to explain, Suffolk County Council has said it does not intend to issue a fine for lateness.

A spokesman from the county council said that Cadent had not received any fines for lateness because they had informed the council of the extension.

Anglian Water begin work in Spring Road from Monday, meaning the work needs to be clear so Woodbridge Road can handle the diverted traffic.

Suffolk County Council's Sandra Gage. Picture: CONTRIBUTED Suffolk County Council's Sandra Gage. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Suffolk county councillor Sandra Gage, Labour’s spokeswoman for transport, said: “They should be fined for this.

“If they are going to come in and do that work, and close one of our arterial roads, they need to be wholly prepared to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. I am really cross about it.”

She added that a permit scheme she suggested earlier this year and last year would have fined Cadent each day for the overrunning work.

Despite contractors requiring an extension of nearly seven weeks, the original signs saying it would only be 10 weeks remained in place, and businesses and residents in the area were not told why there was a delay or how long it would be for. Businesses yesterday said it had caused a significant downturn in trade.

Steve Harding, owner of Touchwood UK, said: “It’s frustrating because you can see this is a busy road, that is the reason why we have got a showroom here, but it is not busy now. Footfall is down and then you cannot convert that into orders.

“Just from speaking to people you know, family, friends and customers, they say they are avoiding that road.”

At least one firm in Woodbridge Road has submitted a claim against Cadent, while one other, which did not wish to be named, has experienced a drop in its takings by a third over the last six weeks.

The site will be cleared by Sunday evening.

Cadent’s response

Last month, a spokesman from Cadent said the firm had hoped to have work finished by October 27.

But after a further delay, the spokesman said yesterday: “The last section of the new main has gone in and is being tested and commissioned today (November 2) and we hope that the road will be reinstated and the work site cleared by Monday.

“The work proved to be a big engineering challenging. Due to the busy nature of the road our engineers also had to ensure that local gas supplies were maintained to the area while work was being delivered.

“We’d like to thank people for their understanding while we carried out this essential project which will help ensure local homes, businesses and community facilities keep on enjoying safe, reliable gas supplies for cooking and heating.

“To find out more about Cadent’s gas mains replacement work people can call 0800 096 5678 or visit www.bettergaspipes.co.uk.”

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