A burst water pipe has compounded already existing traffic issues which have caused children to be repeatedly late to school.

Thames Water put a road closure in place in Water Street in Somerton, Bicester, after reports of a burst water pipe came flooding in.

The road was closed over Saturday and Sunday and reopened Monday morning (November 27), but not before motorists were faced with long diversions.

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County councillor for Ploughley division and shadow cabinet member for SEND improvement said: “I’ve been out there this morning and although the highway needs patching, it is passable with care and will not now be closed.

“With very few crossing points locally over the Oxford Canal and river Cherwell, closing the Somerton crossing while Long Bridge at Lower Heyford is also closed meant locals, especially children using school transport were marooned and facing extremely long diversions.

“Happily, it was resolved on Sunday, but there are some lessons Thames Water may wish to reflect on reviewing road closures in the wider context of what else is going on in the area.”

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We’d like to thank local motorists and residents for their patience during this time and are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

“We’re repairing over 1,000 leaks per week, whether visible or below ground. That’s one leak every 10 minutes.”

As well as the burst water pipe, the increased journey times for motorists are the result of the closure of Long Bridge in Lower Heyford.

A full-time carer for her disabled children, Amanda Lovejoy claims the closing of the bridge in October has caused myriad problems.

She said: “My kids take school taxis because they go to special needs schools. One goes towards Banbury and the other towards Oxford Airport.

“Both routes use the bridge. Since the bridge has been shut everyone drives through Kirtlington, which has become incredibly busy.

“My kids are getting to school 10 to 15 minutes late every day. And with Somerton being shut this morning it was even worse. It’s all just so frustrating.”

Ms Lovejoy, who lives in Upper Heyford, claims the burst water pipe caused some inconvenience for people she knows over the weekend.

She said: “I’ve got elderly friends who go to Deddington surgery and they couldn’t get through Somerton this weekend. They had to go all the way round.”

Long Bridge was shut after a portion of its stonework crumbled away earlier this year.

Oxfordshire County Council claim the damage occurred as a result of water from the carriageway getting into and weakening the fabric of the bridge.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1