THE ‘fatberg’ road closure that has caused traffic woe will be finished almost a week early.
Thames Water closed Park End Street in Oxford on Monday and anticipated it would take up to two weeks to remove a congealed mess of fat and other waste that has caused a partial collapse of the sewer.
However its six workmen replaced three metres of the broken sewer yesterday – a week ahead of schedule.
Thames Water spokeswoman Sarah Sharpe said last night workmen would try to have the road reopened by Saturday.
The five-way traffic light system at Frideswide Square caused severe traffic jams across the city on Monday when work started to repair the damage caused by a build-up of fat. The team spent Tuesday using a high pressure jetwasher to blast away the fat clinging to the sewer pipe, and yesterday they replaced part of the 12-inch wide pipe. Today, the team will start to fill in the hole in the road and resurface it.
Thames Water project manager Ian Smith said: “This week the team have really done themselves proud, and by putting in the long hours and working closely with Oxfordshire County Council, we’re really pleased to be reopening the road earlier than expected.
“This sewer has ultimately been weakened by the constant cleaning we have to do to remove disgusting piles of fat. We don’t want to be back here again anytime soon, so I would urge people to think twice before tipping cooking oil down the drain or flushing away items like wet wipes. It may disappear easily from your sight, but once it hits our sewers, cools, hardens, and sticks together, it’s a nightmare for us to remove and a massive inconvenience for motorists using the roads we’re working beneath.”
The roadworks continued to cause delays on the western route into the city on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Walton Street in Jericho was shut in both directions yesterday while investigations continue into why a sinkhole appeared in the road.
It was original just shut in one direction on Monday, but Oxfordshire County Council closed it in both directions at lunchtime yesterday from Worcester Place to Beaumont Street.
Spokesman Sam Henry said the decision was made for safety reasons while investigations into the reason for the collapse continue.