Plymouth road closure will cause "absolute chaos" for drivers
MOTORISTS are facing six weeks of "absolute chaos" when a busy city road shuts for sewer repair work.
A stretch of Outland Road, between Peverell Park Road and Devonport High School for Girls, will be reduced to just one northbound lane for 12 hours a day, six days a week from Monday, April 8.
The two southbound lanes, which lead to the city centre, will be shut to traffic and some residents face a six-mile diversion through Weston Mill and Camels Head in order to sidestep the closure.
The work is part of a South West Water scheme to improve the city's sewer network – but locals have reacted with frustration.
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Christine Preston, who lives in Meredith Road, said: "It's terrible, it's going to be absolute chaos. I just don't know how people are going to cope."
SWW project manager Robert Prentice said: "This is a complex and challenging project, especially given its location, but it represents a real investment in the city of Plymouth. Without this essential work, the sewerage network would deteriorate.
"With Plymouth City Council we have worked hard to minimise the disruption to local residents, businesses and commuters as much as possible.
"This includes extending the length of both the working day and week to finish sooner, and planning the programme so we start during the school holidays and are able to reopen one lane of Outland Road when Plymouth Argyle play at home."
One lane of the city-bound carriageway will be opened on Saturday, April 20, when Argyle host Rotherham United in the final league fixture of the season at Home Park.
A SWW spokeswoman said: "South West Water and its H5O partners started work on the scheme to build new sewers and adjust existing manholes in the Outland Road area of the city in January last year.
"The final phase of the project, which will involve connecting the new pipes into the sewerage network, starts on Monday, April 8. The work will take six weeks to complete.
"Both inbound lanes of Outland Road and one outbound lane will be closed to all traffic except buses between Peverell Park Road and Devonport High School for Girls during the work. Traffic will not be able to exit onto Outland Road from any of the side roads between Peverell Park Road and Devonport High School. Diversion routes will be clearly signed.
In order to complete the work as quickly as possible, staff will be working 12 hours a day (8am to 8pm) six days a week."
Road closures and diversions: the facts
The road closure in Outland Road will come into force on Monday, April 8 and will run from 8am to 8pm for six weeks, while South West Water carries out repairs to its sewer network.
The closure will start at the junction with Peverell Park Road and will stretch down to Devonport High School for Girls. Both city-bound lanes will be closed to all traffic except buses, and one lane will be open on the outbound side of the road.
One inbound lane will re-open to traffic on Saturday April 20, when Plymouth Argyle have a fixture at Home Park.
Road signs will be put up all around the area as diversion routes will be in place to help motorists avoid the closure.
Side roads which will be shut at their junction with Outland Road include Meredith Road, Belair Road, Onslow Road, Beauchamp Crescent and Beauchamp Road.
Drivers around these residential streets will need to use Montpelier Road, Beacon Park Road, Langstone Road and Ham Drive to return back out to Outland Road.
The main diversion route for the majority of users takes drivers from the Manadon roundabout along the A38 westbound, round through Weston Mill and Camels Head, along Wolseley Road and back to the southern end of Outland Road.
Drivers travelling from north of the Manadon roundabout will travel down Outland Road and will have to turn left on to Peverell Park Road, then go down Hyde Park Road and North Hill to get to the city centre.
REACTION: Fears of ‘total disruption’
People living on or near Outland Road have expressed frustration at its impending closure, which they say will lead to “total disruption”.
Residents have received letters from South West Water (SWW), but many say they are still confused about whether they will be able to get in or out of their own streets.
Christine Preston, who lives in Meredith Road, said: “It’s terrible, it’s going to be absolute chaos.
“I just don’t know how people are going to cope.
“We are not allowed to exit, and I don’t know whether we are allowed to enter.
“If we enter this road from the top and the road is full of cars, we have got to exit the same way.
“We won’t be able to turn the car around and we’re not going to reverse all the way up the street.
“I have read the letter but I don’t fully understand it.
“I think everybody feels the same, just horrified really. I don’t see how they can close it for six weeks.”
Neighbour Craig Beany said: “I think the thing that annoys us most is that they closed this road a couple of months ago.
“That caused major havoc and it’s just going to be the same thing repeated. It would have been a lot easier if they did it all in one go.”
Judith Young, who lives in Belair Road, said: “It’s going to lead to total disruption.
“My daughter drops her baby off with me in the morning, I am going to have to meet her somewhere because there is no exit.
“There must be a better way of doing it.”
A staff member at the Esso garage opposite Home Park, who did not want to be named, said the closure could affect their business.
“That road is pretty bad at the best of times without it being closed,” she said.
But Meredith Road resident David Davies said: “If they are going to close it, they have to do it if they’re going to dig up the road. People will just have to get on with it.”
A SWW spokeswoman said: “The scheme is part of a five-year £42 million investment in the sewer network across the region to renovate sewers identified as being at risk of collapse and to alleviate potential flooding problems.”