Express & Star

Commuters face 22-mile diversion route for three months of mains upgrade work under major road

Commuters using a major road are facing more than 20-mile diversions from this week for a long-awaited water mains replacement programme.

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Residents and motorists served by the A448 between Kidderminster and Bromsgrove are facing 22 miles of traffic diversions due to the project to replace an old water pipe under the carriageway.

Work started on Monday to upgrade 546 yards of pipeline which involves the complete closure of the Kidderminster Road on a narrow stretch of road at Chaddesley Corbett. Bosses at Severn Trent Water have pledged to complete it within 12 weeks.

Drivers and bus passengers are facing a 22-mile diversion route from Kidderminster via West Hagley, Lydiate Ash and the A38 due to the work that was suspended nine months ago after a highways worker was left with serious injuries after being struck by a lorry.

The A448 in Kidderminster is closed

Stone parish representative Councillor Alan Wakeman was among those attending a community meeting about the roadworks.

The councillor, a retired civil engineer, said: "Stone is located near Chaddesley Corbett and is also served by the A448. The main issue is the diversions. People are really worried that travel times will double.

The A448 in Kidderminster is closed

"People seemed to be saying they will be travelling via Droitwich as an alternative.

“I think most people present accepted that the road needed to be closed and were mainly concerned about traffic management and diversions. The official diversion route being through West Hagley on the A456 West Hagley is already a bottleneck and this route is likely to significantly increase the Kidderminster to Bromsgrove journey time.

The A448 in Kidderminster is closed

"It's a 500m length of pipe which is being replaced and 12 weeks seems an awfully time to replace it. I have asked why it needs to take so long. The water company is also being allowed to work on it seven days a week.

"I've also asked why the pipe can't be laid in the grass verge instead of under the carriageway, which is a narrow and winding single carriageway. The response was that arrangements would need to be made with private land owners which may lead to complications in the future."

The road is due to re-open on May 13.

The A448 in Kidderminster is closed

Severn Trent's project manager Yasmin Cherik told residents that the chosen diversion route was the most suitable to carry heavy traffic and that the company had informed the emergency services about the works.

She said: “We will have to dig through a layer of Tarmac up to one metre deep because of the amount of resurfacing works that have taken place over the years. That involves digging through a lot of hard rock.

“And unfortunately the only clear route to install the new main is in the centre of the road, which means we cannot have a two-way traffic system as there is not enough room to maintain safety for passing vehicles as well as our workforce.

“We do understand how frustrating these roadworks are for people, but we will be working as fast as we can to get this scheme completed as quickly as possible."

The company added that it understood that residents were frustrated by the works, but the diversions were in place to protect its workers and the public as it carried out essential mains replacement.

The statement also said that the scheme will improve the water supply to households.