Water works in Tongham that South East Water (SEW) warned would cut the village in half for more than five months have been completed in just three weeks.
There was uproar in July when, with just two weeks’ notice, SEW told villagers The Street would be shut opposite the Hogs Back Brewery for 21 weeks to lay a new water pipeline to serve new homes.
SEW initially said it had “explored all alternatives”. But after a series of public meetings at the brewery, it agreed to reduce the road closure first to 18 weeks, then to 12 and eventually just six.
The £130,000 works were scheduled to take place over the six-week summer holidays. But in the end the project was completed in half the time, with the final connection to the existing water main made on Wednesday last week, close to the entrance to Bellway Homes’ new Admiral Park development at Westbroke Way.
Works were then demobilised on Friday and the site has now been cleared.
Just days later, on Monday, Bellway announced all 79 private homes in the first phase of its 127-home scheme have now been built and sold – with work continuing on the others.
Jeremy Dufour, South East Water project manager, said: “Our team on site has worked incredibly well, making great progress and completing the project in just three weeks.
“In doing so, we have achieved our aim to minimise disruption to residents and businesses in Tongham by completing the work during the school summer holidays when fewer people are using the roads.”
The original plans for the project were to lay 600 metres of new pipeline along The Street over the course of 21 weeks, with four weeks under multi-way traffic lights and the road closed for 17 weeks.
Following community feedback at public meetings, South East Water revised the plans to reduce the road closure to six weeks, agreeing with Surrey County Council’s Highways Department to complete the work in the school summer holidays.
Jeremy added: “This was a vital project for us to upgrade the water main to help meet demand in the area from the new development.
“We know that road closures will impact people locally, but we have done all that we can to try and minimise the disruption and I am pleased we have been able to do so.
“I would like to thank the Tongham community in helping us deliver this important project to future-proof drinking water supplies in the area.”