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News that the A38 in Fernhill Heath is to be subject to another three weeks of disruption from National Grid as they do further gas main work on the junction with Station Road has been greeted with dismay by local traders and the area’s MP, Peter Luff.

Previous work on the A38 in the winter of 2009-10 overran by many months causing massive disruption in the villages and heavy losses to the traders, for which they received no compensation.

After the news of the further work broke this week, the MP immediately contacted National Grid’s Chief Executive and asked why the work had to be done now. National Grid replied,

“We appreciate that this is a busy junction. This is the final stage of construction. The commissioning and decommissioning has to take place at this point as the main located in Droitwich Road is designed to have the capacity to feed Station Road and other streets in the vicinity. This work cannot take place concurrently with the pipe laying activities.”

Mr Luff asked specifically,

“What guarantees we will get that adequate resources, both in terms of people doing the work and overseeing it, will be devoted to the work to ensure it is done in good time and does not overrun.”

National Grid offered this reassurance and explanation,

“We are committed to making sure that traders and residents do not suffer unnecessary inconvenience. In consultation with others, we have made strong efforts to ensure our work can be completed as quickly as possible. As such, we will be using temporary traffic lights at this junction. These will be manually operated at peak times to ease the flow of traffic. Our team will also be working 7 days a week to ensure this work is completed as quickly as possible.

“In addition, this work has been planned in conjunction with Worcestershire County Council as they advised us that they wish to resurface the road in November and asked for us to be finished by this date.

“Finally, we have worked hard to co-ordinate our work in the area to minimise disruption. We also had a mains replacement programme in Tolladine Road and as this project also required temporary traffic lights, we did not want to have 2 projects occurring at the same time delaying traffic flow into the city centre. This project finished 3 weeks ahead of schedule and we co-ordinated our work with others, including Network Rail and the council.”

Commenting, Mr Luff said,

“It seems this work must be done, and National Grid’s recent track record in Droitwich and Worcester gives grounds for hope that we will not see the same spectacular incompetence we saw nearly two years ago. But the references to resurfacing are alarming. Having talked to Fernhill Heath’s county councillor, Tony Miller, I believe this concerns Station Road and not the A38 Droitwich Road, but he is checking urgently with the county council. Obviously more disruption on the main road through the village in the run up to Christmas would be totally unacceptable.”


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