Workmen’s bid to help ends in A148 traffic misery at Aylmerton

Efforts to avoid disruption on a busy north Norfolk road went horribly wrong when contractors accidentally burst a main, leaving homes without water and causing huge traffic tailbacks for nearly three days.

The A148 Cromer to Holt Road was flowing freely once again this afternoon, Friday September 30, after a stretch outside the Roman Camp pub at Aylmerton had been resurfaced and temporary traffic lights removed.

The repair work became necessary after contractors Barhale drilled into a water main under the road on Tuesday morning while laying pipework connected with a �1.6m Anglian Water (AW) project to bring first-time sewerage to the village.

Homes on Aylmerton's Holt Road and half-way up Sandy Lane were without supplies until water was restored in the early hours of Wednesday.

But road repairs were not fully completed until early this morning and in the meantime a single-lane traffic flow was in operation, creating jams of up to two miles in both directions.

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An AW spokesman apologised for the disruption caused and said the contractors had been using a method called 'directional drilling,' feeding a pipe with a drill head attached to it under the road, from a pit at one side of the carriageway to another on the far side.

The technique had been used to avoid the disruption to traffic of digging a trench across the road.

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Unfortunately they had unexpectedly encountered the water main about two-and-a-half metres below the ground, much deeper than usual, said the spokesman.

'We are sorry for the problems caused by this burst and by the subsequent repairs to the road,' he added.

'It is a shame this happened as a result of efforts to actually reduce inconvenience for people.

'Our contractors have been working hard to keep disruption to a minimum and are currently running ahead of schedule. This scheme is a major investment in the area by Anglian Water and once finished, should see a real improvement in quality of life for residents of Aylmerton.'

AW was approached by Aylmerton Parish Council in 2003 with a request to provide a mains sewer system, supported by residents of 63 properties.

Flooding and smells were a problem in the southern part of the village - Church Road and on The Street - where some householders were having to arrange for their septic tanks to be emptied frequently.

Work began in June to build two pumping stations and about 3km of sewer main along Sandy Lane to connect the village with AW's existing sewer network in West Runton.

The work is expected to be finished by the end of November. About 100 properties will be able to connect to the new sewer.

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