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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Utility work will close main Cumbrian road for up to three weeks

Drivers and businesses are facing three weeks of disruption as a main road into Workington town centre closes.

The southbound lane of Workington’s Washington Street – as well as the loading bay and taxi rank – will shut in two weeks’ time for work on the town’s sewerage system to be carried out.

Drivers will face lengthy delays and detours and businesses along the stretch of road, between Ramsay Brow and Jane Street, will struggle as deliveries will be unable to pull up outside their premises.

Debbie Holmes, manager of Flavour tapas bar and restaurant, said that although trade won’t be hit, the business will be disrupted when the loading bay – which turns into a taxi rank at night-time – closes.

“Deliveries have to pull up outside as we don’t have a back entrance – I don’t think any of the businesses do,” she said. “It will also cause congestion in the town as it is the main road into Workington.”

Ms Holmes added that she was angry that United Utilities, which is carrying out the work, has not been in touch with her about the closure, so that she could make alternative arrangements for deliveries.

A United Utilities spokeswoman said they would be sending letters out to the affected businesses “in the next week”.

However, the manager of the nearby Washington Square Shopping Centre, Dave Fletcher, is urging people to continue coming to the town.

“I think it will affect deliveries into the town, but not people shopping here.

“People have to be tolerant as it (sewerage works) needs to be done otherwise you start getting floods.

“The best time to do it is in February. Let’s be tolerant and go onwards and upwards afterwards.”

Allerdale council is looking at alternative locations to permanently move the taxi rank. The authority’s licensing panel meets next week when it is expected to make a decision.

Polly Rourke, for United Utilities, apologised for the disruption.

“We will try to get the work done as quickly as possible. We’ve chosen a technique which has already reduced the amount of time the project will take, compared to digging. This involves inflating a resin-impregnated liner inside the sewer pipe.

“Unfortunately, the position, depth and size of the pipe, means we have had no alternative but to close the road for safety reasons.”

The works are part of an £18.5 million programme for sewer maintenance across the region, to alleviate potential problems such as sewer flooding.

Diversions will be put in place via either the A66 and A595/6 or along Jane Street, the A597 and Northside Road.

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