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East Road works to continue beyond April 20

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Works to repair a damaged sewer on East Road are set to carry on until the end of next week.

East Road, road works which is causing long tale backs around the city . Picture: Keith Heppell. (46099622)
East Road, road works which is causing long tale backs around the city . Picture: Keith Heppell. (46099622)

The road has been closed since Tuesday, April 6 to allow Anglian Water to carry out the emergency works but was expected to reopen on Tuesday, April 20.

The water company says the work is now expected to continue until the end of the week, but was unable to confirm which day the road would reopen. It expects work to be finished by April 23.

The closure has already caused chaos for commuters and businesses who have just reopened following the national lockdown.

Anglian Water said they had not planned for the closure to coincide with the reopening saying it was just “unfortunate timing”.

Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge BID, said: “A delay to these works is most disappointing, I really do not understand when the city centre economy has been closed for almost four months why more effort has not been made to get roadworks completed during lockdown so on April 12 when shops bar and restaurants opened, visitors started to return and workers can return to their offices the city is fully accessible.

“All the recent consumer surveys and in fact government advice points to the car being the transport mode of choice in the short to medium term. The diversion for this closure would usually include Mill Road but that has also been closed since June 2020 for Covid reasons to the dismay of many local traders, hence the actual diversion is double the distance at 7.1km and will increase congestion on that route leading to poor air quality.

“For most of April three main routes into the city centre will be closed Histon Road, Mill Road and now East Road, due to the high cost of housing in the city most of our city centre workers travel in, these closures will add further nuisance to their day just as they are hoping to return from what for many has been a very uncertain time furloughed and unsure of their future jobs

“I have today written to Cllr Ian Bates, chairman of the county council highways and transport committee, making him aware of the business issues these closures are causing and asking for a response.”

The carriageway and cycle lanes are closed from Norfolk Street to Broad Street, with a 4.3-mile (7.1km) diversion route in place.

The diversion for this closure would usually include Mill Road, but the bridge has been closed since June 2020 for Covid reasons.

Cambridgeshire County Council said it has not considered reopening Mill Road because an alternative route was possible.

Businesses in East Road remain open throughout the works.

Commuters, residents and businesses have hit out at Cambridgeshire County Council for not lifting the temporary closure of Mill Road bridge while the works in East Road take place.

Chef Alex Rushmer, who runs Vanderlyle in Mill Road, took to social media to complain about the impact on businesses.

He said: “I’d like to pass on my congratulations to Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridge City Council for making it virtually impossible to run a business from Mill Road, Cambridge, currently – I’m not against the bridge closure per se but you’re making it very hard to be supportive.”

Mr Rushmer added: “Accessing the Petersfield side of the road from anywhere east of the city is now incredibly hard thanks to the closure of East Road. If there is anything I need to drop off it is almost an hour-long round trip. The road narrowing measures continue to be hazardous as well.”

Commenting on the Cambridge Independent website, one reader wrote: “It’s about time the county council opened up Mill Road bridge. Absolutely ridiculous to keep this road closed when motorists are faced with an extra four-mile journey to get to doctors, hospital, for Covid jabs.”

A diversion route is in place during the works, with traffic approaching from the south diverted along Hills Road, Cherry Hinton Road, Brooks Road, Coldhams Lane and Newmarket Road in order to reach the northern section of East Road. The reverse route applies.

The county council said it granted permission for the work to prevent potential flooding in the area, which could have disturbed residents, businesses and the wider community.

“Mill Road is ​subject to a traffic regulation order. We would only revoke traffic regulation orders (whether permanent or experimental) if there was no alternative. This was not the case for East Road, therefore, reopening of Mill Road would not be considered,” a spokesperson said.

Read more:

Mill Road: cable company told to stop roadworks blighting shops reopening

Drivers face lengthy diversion during East Road closure

East Road in Cambridge to be closed for two weeks

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