UNITED Utilities has been accused of keeping businesses and residents in the dark about a delay to a section of a major roadwork project in Carlisle.

The year-long works to refurbish pipes under Warwick Road began in January, and are set to continue until the end of the year.

However, a small section of the works leading onto nearby Victoria Place, which started in February and was originally meant to come to an end in June, remains ongoing.

Signs currently up at Victoria Place state the closure of one direction of traffic, to allow water mains pipes to be replaced, started on February 25 and would last for 14 weeks.

Several weeks ago, United Utilities confirmed that work on the pipes, which are being revamped for the first time in nearly 100 years, had hit a snag.

John Hilton, project director for United Utilities, said a section of the new pipe lining had not fitted as well as they had hoped, and would need to be replaced.

He added that he wasn’t sure of the cause of the issue - and said his team were investigating further to determine if it was a manufacturing defect or an installation defect.

Despite repeated questions raised by The Cumberland News to United Utilities to address the exact cause of the delay, and find out when the ongoing Victoria Place closure would be completed - both remain unanswered.

Similar questions have been put by businesses and residents to city councillor Anne Glendinning, who represents the Cathedral and Castle ward.

She said: “While I understand its a large job, and acknowledge the importance that it is done, this section of the works along Warwick Road and Victoria Place has overrun by five weeks.

“Nobody seems to know exactly when it is going to finish. I haven’t been able to get an answer from United Utilities.

“I’ve left messages with Cumbria County Council, and they were going to have a meeting with them to see if they could find out what was happening, but unfortunately I’ve still not heard anything about it.”

The four-year scheme, totalling £14m, is currently working on project numbers four and five - which spans across Victoria Place, Warwick Road and Montgomery Road.

Another five projects by United Utilities are expected to be complete by March next year.

In a statement, United Utilities said: “Our work on Warwick Road was always scheduled to last until the end of this year.

“We have two large water pipes in this location and to keep taps flowing, we can only upgrade one at a time.

“Due to an installation issue, a section of the new pipe lining has not fitted as well as we would like.

“This is currently being replaced, which has delayed work starting on the second phase of this project.

“We remain committed to completing all the required work on Warwick Road by the end of the year as planned and are currently looking at opportunities to make up time by increasing resource and looking at the potential for extended working hours.

“We do appreciate people bearing with us, rest assured we’re doing all we can to get out of the way as soon as possible.”

The water firm added that an on-site customer drop in point on Warwick Road launched this week.

“It will be open on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9am til 3pm and on Wednesdays from 12pm to 3pm every week while we’re working in the area,” the spokesman added.

“Customers can pick up a leaflet giving details about the improvement project we’re carrying out in their area and staff will also be available at these times to answer any questions they have about the project.”