Saturday, 19 June 2021

Three weeks of jams as main road closes

CONGESTION in Henley is likely to be worse than normal for the next three weeks when Wargrave Road will be closed for gas mains repairs.

CONGESTION in Henley is likely to be worse than normal for the next three weeks when Wargrave Road will be closed for gas mains repairs.

Southern Gas Networks began work on a stretch of the A321 last month and the road is currently operating with temporary traffic lights.

However, the second phase of work beginning on Monday means the road will be shut between Marsh Lock and Conways Bridge.

There is likely to be disruption as drivers use alternative routes in and out of Henley.

Laurence Morris, 52, who owns Laurence Menswear in Duke Street and drives to work from his home in Twford, said: “Any road that closes and stops traffic is undoubtedly going to affect business but I don’t know what alternatives there are.There’s nothing we can do about it.

“If people have a desperate need to come to Henley they will do it anyway but I think that people coming in from Wargrave will say ‘let’s not bother’.

“I’ll have to use whatever alternative route there is.”

Pete Holloway, 65, manager of the Eyot Centre on Wargrave Road, said: “We do have a good number of members who live Woodley and Wargrave way so it will cause some disruption. Fortunately, it’s not going to matter to the kids from Henley.”

Ed Simons, chairman of the Kenton Theatre trustees, who lives in Wargrave Road, said: “It’s an absolute disaster. The traffic lights have moved to right in front of our exit and it’s impossible to get out.

“They are now closing the road for three weeks — life can’t carry on like this.

“I travel up to London three days a week and that makes it impossible. We will be able to get into Henley but coming back will be a nightmare.

“I’ll have a word with the gas board to vent my frustrations but I doubt it will do any good whatsoever.

“If the work has to be done it has to be done, but to close the road for three weeks is just ridiculous.” Guy Girling, who works at Val Wyatt Marine in Wargrave and lives in Shiplake, said: “I normally drive through Henley but I’m now coming through Sonning, which is usually bad but has been pretty clear recently.

“The day there were the waterworks in Henley it was a nightmare.

“When the road closes we will make sure people come to us through Wargrave rather than Henley.”

Richard Bush, chairman of Wargrave Parish Council, said: “There won’t be any buses and the 850 Arriva service will miss out Wargrave completely. Drivers will go through Crazies Hill, which is not fit for lots of traffic.”

A diversion via Knowl Hill and White Hill will be in place during the road closure.

The work is part of a £150,000 project to replace underground gas pipes.

Southern Gas Networks project manager Chris Humphrey said: “All our work is being carried out in close consultation with Oxfordshire County Council and Wokingham Borough Council and we will be doing everything we can to minimise disruption.

“We recognise that the A321 is a strategic traffic route so this work has been planned to take place during the school summer holidays when traffic tends to be lighter.

“I would like to apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused by our work.

“We understand that people can get frustrated by roadworks, however, this work is essential to the maintenance of a continued safe and reliable gas supply to all our customers in Wargrave Road and the wider area.”

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