MOTORISTS are set for weeks of traffic mayhem after a sewage leak forced officials in Stafford to take emergency measures.
County Councillor Ray Barron told the Newsletter a collapsed sewage main on Greyfriars needed immediate and extensive work.
“The sewage main has collapsed between Curries and Halfords,” said Councillor Baron. “It’s four metres deep apparently.
“For the equipment they need to dig that kind of hole they are going to have to completely block the A34,” he said. “It’s a huge job but it’s the only way it can be done.”
Councillor Barron said the work was likely to take between three to four weeks but said Severn Trent and the Highways Authority were looking at plans to mitigate the impact on residents.
“It’s going to be mayhem on that road, especially because traffic is already backing up from the Redhill development on A34,” he said. “Then the Stone Road, Co-operative Street development that has the go ahead is going to add to the problems as all the demolition work has started there.
“Then there’s another project planned for The Albion pub on Marston Road set to start next week too,” he said. “They were planning to close down half of Marston Road for that.
“It’s a bit like the sinking of the Titanic really.”
Councillor Barron said the county council were trying to get the Marston Road work deferred but said with heavy snow forecast as well residents were looking at a ‘nightmare’ scenario.
He said another way to deal with the impending perfect storm of traffic problems might be to divert the traffic completely out of Stafford along the Weston Road and Beaconside.
Angry residents and business owners told the newsletter they had been calling on Severn Trent to deal with the problem with the sewer for several months.
Steve Donegan of Marsh Street said: “It’s bubbling out and going on all down the road.
“Local businesses have been reporting it to all and sundry for months.”
Mr Donegan said although Severn Trent had been on a few occasions to pump away the liquid emerging from the drains, the problem had returned every time.
“The smell of it is absolutely horrendous,” said Mr Donegan.
Barry Brown, from Beez Butchers in Greyfriars, said: “It is only a few feet from my shop and has been like it for weeks. It is horrible for customers and for us having to work by it.
“I was on the phone constantly trying to get something done about it but was just passed from pillar to post. No-one seemed to want to take responsibility for it.”
A spokesman for Severn Trent apologised on behalf of the company for anyone in the Greyfriars area affected.
“It is not a nice situation and we are doing everything we can to fix the problem as quickly as possible,” she said. “The incident is thought to be a sewer leak, and various measures to resolve the issue have been attempted.”
She said a representative for Severn Trent had visited the site on Tuesday to arrange for a temporary solution to alleviate the flooding and arrange a clean up.
She said the company was set to meet all the parties necessary to ensure the repair work could be undertaken yesterday.
“This includes the Highways Authority and our contractors, Enterprise,” she said. “As the work will be on a major road, there is likely to be a significant impact on traffic so we need to liaise closely with the Local Authority to minimise any impact on the local community.
“Rest assured we are doing all we can to resolve this issue.”
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport Mike Maryon said the repair work needed to be carried out as soon as possible.
“Leaking sewerage presents a serious environmental hazard to people and businesses in the area,” he said. “Unfortunately the source of the problem appears to be under the A34 and this work will inevitably cause disruption.
“Our highways team will do all it can to ensure work is carried out as quickly as possible and with the A34 remaining open in some form,” he said. “We will know more about timescales for repair and its impact on the road after a meeting with Severn Trent Water today.”
Councillor Maryon advised regular users of the route to think about allowing more journey time or possible alternate routes and asked that people also bear in mind the programmed works further north on the A34 around the Redhill development.