GROUND-BREAKING works have been carried out on one of Winchester’s busiest roads to alleviate flooding.
Hampshire County Council took action to reopen Andover Road North, which has been closed since February 8, and have built a temporary road in time for today's rush hour commuters (February 17).
Over the weekend highways engineers worked to erect a temporary elevated carriageway near the army barracks to enable traffic to travel on one lane of the northbound dual carriageway and relieve the pressure on other roads going out of Winchester.
The already-congested streets throughout Winchester have been aggravated by the torrential rain, storms and rising flood waters.
Cllr Seán Woodward, executive member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “On an average day, 6000 vehicles travel northbound on the Andover Road. Its closure has obviously led to increased traffic congestion and we were concerned that the city could become gridlocked if other routes in and out of Winchester were to become similarly affected. The solution we have come up with is the construction of a temporary elevated carriageway.
“This has involved using 68 concrete barriers to retain 160 tonnes of 40mm stones and a further 160 tonnes of crushed concrete, finished off with over 500 square metres of tarmac.
“It is a solution we have used successfully before in the county, 14 years ago, to keep traffic moving on the A31 at Ropley. I am pleased to say that every effort was made to get this built as soon as possible in time for the Monday evening rush hour. The elevated carriageway should ensure that the road can remain open to single file traffic even though water levels may fluctuate.”
A diversion has been in place using the B3049 Stockbridge Road since the closure.
Meanwhile, some residents may have seen the worst of this winter’s floods after water levels fell dramatically in the city centre.
Residents in Water Lane and Park Avenue reported a huge reduction in water levels that up until now have plagued the streets causing some people to endlessly pump water from their houses.
Dan Noakes, 30, of Water Lane, said: “We are still living upstairs and have taken the opportunity to redecorate downstairs whilst it’s empty.
“The water level in the river has dropped by about 20-30cm. The groundwater in the road is still coming up and if we didn’t have a pump on it will fill up in an hour and a half to two hours.
“I think the immediate threat has subsided. Whatever they have done by Easton seems to have worked.”
Jon Darlow, 40, of Water Lane, said: “Things are looking promising! I actually managed to walk out of my house this morning without worrying. It’s absolutely fine now, it looks like it’s all back to normal.”
Sue Dipper, 53, of Water Lane, said: “We are doing absolutely fine. The authorities have done an amazing job and I don’t think they could have done any better. I think we are over the worst of it.
“Whatever they have done in Winchester, they should take that plan to other towns because it is clearly working.”