An extensive sewer upgrade in Burnham has met its six-week deadline for completion before the school half term break after Wessex Water delivered on its pledge to complete the work in half the time originally scheduled.
The section of the B3140 Berrow Road in the Somerset town reopened to traffic on Friday 11 February after a project to replace ageing sewer pipes, which got under way in early January, was wrapped up to ensure the impact on the local community and tourism sector in the area was minimised as much as possible.
The upgrade was originally due to conclude after 12 weeks in April but, after listening to the concerns of residents and businesses, Wessex Water redrafted their plans and employed innovative techniques such as vacuum excavation and lengthened working hours to allow the scheme to be finished in six weeks.
A Wessex Water spokesperson said: “We’re pleased that we have been able to complete what was an extensive piece of work to prolong the life of this sewer and get this important road back open for the community and local business as quickly as possible.
“Our teams have worked long days, often under floodlights and at weekends, to complete this project and keep it to a tight schedule.
“They also had to work around a gas main on the same route and within an enclosed space due to the installation of sound barriers to reduce the effect on the surrounding area.
“A kilometre of deep-lying sewer was lined in three weeks, increasing its life by at least 50 years. By using new and innovative ‘no-dig’ technology, they have managed to complete work that could have taken multiple teams at least a year to finish at greater expense.
“We were conscious of the effect a longer-term project would have had on residents and businesses, already dealing with challenges of the pandemic, and we thank them and Somerset County Council’s Highways team for their co-operation and understanding, as well as their collaborative work to help ensure we could get this done prior to the school holidays.’’
As well as a diversion via East Brent in place for the course of the work, Wessex Water also provided a bus to Berrow C of E Primary School to transport children from south of the closure, via the diversion route.
The company and council also worked closely with the owners of nearby caravan parks to ensure that scheduled arrivals of motorhomes could continue despite the road closure. More than 20 static homes were marshalled around the road closure during the course of the project.