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Talks over road chaos

PUBLISHED: 15:49 01 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:53 25 August 2010

AN EMERGENCY meeting was called to address delays caused to drivers over a major gas pipeline renewal project

AN EMERGENCY meeting was called to address delays caused to drivers over a major gas pipeline renewal project.

Cabinet member for transport at Bexley council, Peter Craske, ordered the meeting with Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) last Thursday to find an "urgent solution" to the road works blighting Station Road, Sidcup.

He accused project managers of a lack of planning and failing to commit enough resources to the scheme.

It came after the Times reported that over 10 trenches have been dug along a 700m stretch through the centre of Sidcup, but only two workers were spotted in a four-day period.

Diggers have been parked and boarded up while motorists sit in sweltering heat, passing notices next to trenches stating: "Thank you for your patience".

A one-way system was implemented north-bound to allow engineers to renew aging piping in a project costing £1.1 million, expected to last until October.

Mr Craske said: "We're very concerned about the continuous delays caused by the gas works on Station Road.

"We called an emergency meeting with the SGN contract manager to seek an explanation and to discuss our concerns about the lack of forward planning and current shortfalls.

"We are pressing for an urgent solution to bring to an end the congestion and frustration to Bexley residents caused by these works."

Project chiefs told the council they had experienced problems with flats in Crescent Road which had been resolved and gave their assurance that more focus would now be put on Station Road.

A spokesman for SGN said: "The mood of the meeting was positive, with all parties being keen on establishing the best way to progress the works. For our part, SGN are committed to carrying out these essential works as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible, while at the same time protecting the integrity of our gas network."

Motorists were asked by the Times how they felt about the traffic queues. Most said they were "fed up" with waiting, but had a choice of queuing or face a lengthy diversion avoiding the town centre.

Side roads closed are: Stanhope Road, Victoria Road, Sandhurst Road, Crescent Road, Manor Road and Alma Road.

Scotia have assured access to and from Christchurch Road, from Station Road during works.

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