Monday, 21 August 2017

Playhatch Road re-opened

A ROAD damaged during the recent floods re-opened today (Thursday) following an inspection and repairs.

The B478 Playhatch Road has been closed between the A4155 Henley Road and the Sonning Eye roundabout since February 2 because flooding and damage. The road was re-opened at 6pm as a single lane controlled by temporary traffic lights.

However, it was also announced today that Whitchurch Bridge will not now be re-opened until September.

Oxfordshire County Council said the Playhatch Road had been flooded twice and cracks in the surface were likely to have been because of erosion of the embankment and indicated the road’s foundations had been damaged.

But inspections this week showed the damage to the road caused by flooding in January was not made worse by repeat flooding in February.

David Nimmo Smith, the county council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “We were all very grateful to be told that the situation had not worsened as a result of February’s flooding.

"However, we still have a damaged road and so a full return to normal two-way working will not be possible for quite some time. We’ll be providing updates to the public as we go along but for now at least the road is partially open.

“I would like to thank all the staff and sub-contractors who have worked exceptionally hard to get the road open as soon as the inspections were complete.”

Meanwhile, work on the refurbishment of Whitchurch Bridge has still not restarted following the floods.

The bridge was shut for refurbishment in October and was due to re-open on April 14 but last month it was revealed the date had been put back to July.

Now it has gone back again with a precise date for re-opening yet to be named.

The Whitchurch Bridge Company said that the exceptionally high river levels since the start of the year had prevented any work taking place.

A statement said: “As the river needs to be open for boat traffic from March 31, we have had to undertake a detailed review of how the works can be safely recommenced in these changed circumstances which add complexity to the project.

“We expect that the improving river conditions will enable us to restart work by the end of March.”

Mike Beckley, chairman of the Whitchurch Bridge Company, said: “The company again expresses its regret for the disruption caused by the reconstruction of the bridge and looks forward to re-opening this vital community asset as soon as possible.”

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