Final fix for town road

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A BUSY Spalding road will shut for 16 weeks for a £270,000 fix to a long standing sewer headache.

A BUSY Spalding road will shut for 16 weeks for a £270,000 fix to a long standing sewer headache.

Swan Street has been the subject of a wrangle between highways chiefs and supermarket bosses for more than five years but on Thursday Anglian Water will start work which should fix it for good.

The road will have to close between the Winfrey Avenue and Kings Road junctions for 16 weeks – adding to the list of works around the town with Woolram Wygate and Albert Street also shut.

Lincolnshire County Council highways department had threatened Sainsbury’s with court action over the sewer – but the supermarket has now accepted responsibility for the debacle, although it says the blame lies with previous store owners Safeway.

Bodged repairs to the sewer have left it in a poor state and in need of a regular string of patch-up jobs.

The matter has been raised by Spalding Town Forum and county and district councillor Howard Johnson said: “It does need doing urgently. If you were driving along a back road and went over that at 50 or 60 miles an hour you would be airborne. It really is absurd.

“The work is necessary. County highways will make sure this is done as fast as they can because they are well aware of the potential traffic gridlock which can be caused by the closure of one road.

“This is why a bypass is such a priority for the town.”

Anglian Water says it need to replace 34 metres of sewer that they say will be a difficult job because some of it lies 3.5 metres under the ground in tricky conditions.

Anglian Water’s Antony Innes said: “We appreciate that these works will cause some inconvenience, and we’re sorry for that.

“The purpose of this work is to replace the sewer and manhole on Swan Street to significantly reduce the chances of any problems in this area.

“Because of the road closure there will be a diversion in place. I would like to reassure our customers in Spalding that we will be doing all we can to keep the disruption to a minimum. Access to Sainsbury’s and all business will be maintained throughout.”

The traffic diversion will be along Kings Road, down Winfrey Avenue and onto Swan Street, and vice versa.

Lincolnshire County Council says that Sainsbury’s acceptance of responsibility for the problem has meant there was no need for a court case and the authority has recovered its £15,000 costs, dating back over five years.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We inherited a problem with the drainage at Swan Street from the site’s previous owner and this has caused some subsidence.

“We have accepted the responsibility to make the repairs and are working closely at all times with the council to ensure this matter is dealt with. No fines or penalties have been issued.”

Highways bosses say that during the works they will amend the town’s traffic lights to help keep vehicles moving and prevent the gridlock caused during previous work.