Ready for road chaos

HITCHIN is on track for many more months of traffic disruption. However, the message to long-suffering residents is: It s regrettable but necessary. The news came on the same day as Herts County Council boasted that the first phase of major resurfacing

HITCHIN is on track for many more months of traffic disruption. However, the message to long-suffering residents is: "It's regrettable but necessary."

The news came on the same day as Herts County Council boasted that the first phase of major resurfacing and improvement works on Payne's Park and Old Park Road - which had prompted many complaints over three months from residents and motorists -has been completed right on schedule and despite the prolonged period of bad weather in February.

Now there is less than a two-week gap before another major engineering project affecting traffic gets underway.

National Grid, in partnership with Morrison Utility Services, will be upgrading 1.8km of gas pipes in Walsworth Road, from the junction of St Michael's Road and Cambridge Road to the junction of Portmill Lane and Queen Street.


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The work is due to start on May 2 and is scheduled for completion by mid-November. The existing iron mains will be replaced with durable plastic pipes that have an expected lifespan of 80 years.

The first phase of works - from St Michael's Road to Station Approach - will be done under temporary traffic lights and is due to take three weeks.

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But for the second phase starting on May 25 it will be necessary to close Walsworth Road to through traffic from Station Approach to Verulam Road for 19 weeks.

Vehicle access will be maintained for businesses and residents within the road closure while other traffic will be diverted.

National Grid construction operations engineer Julian Yaxley said: "This is essential work that will ensure local people continue to benefit from safe and reliable gas supplies for many years to come. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by our works.

"The temporary traffic management measures are necessary so that we can carry out this work safely but every effort will be made to minimise disruption and complete the works as soon as possible."

Town centre manager Keith Hoskins said: "There is always an obvious frustration with major road roads but we have to be realistic. They can't spread magic dust and the work will be done by the morning.

"Old Park Road and Payne's Park had to be done. It was noisy for neighbours but businesses did not suffer too much. The same thing is going to happen with Walsworth Road.

"If the work has to be done, it has to be done. It is going to cause some chaos but with good old British grit we will get through it."

Walsworth district councillor Alan Millard commented: "Regrettably, closing the road will mean disruption to traffic but I hope the public will bear with it and realise it is necessary work."

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