A38 in Kempsey to reopen, with further work scheduled for January

The A38 in Kempsey will fully reopen to traffic tomorrow (Friday 16 December), but teams from Severn Trent will need to return in the new year to complete repairs on the collapsed sewer pipe.

Engineers have been working hard since Tuesday to dig down to the pipe which is 16 foot beneath the road surface. The decision has now been taken to suspend the work and reopen the road as soon as possible.

Craig Bayliss, from Severn Trent, explains: “Unfortunately, as we’ve been digging down towards the pipe we’ve found large amounts of groundwater which constantly needs to be removed from the hole. This, coupled with the fact that it’s really sandy means that, when we pump the water out, we’re also taking out the sand which means there’s a real risk we’ll undermine the road.

“To get the work done, we need to get some specialist equipment and work out the best way to make sure we don’t create an even bigger problem. This means we’ll have to spend some time planning the best way forward.

“As this will take a couple of weeks we’ve decided to reopen the A38 to make sure we don’t cause any unnecessary delays over the Christmas period. Temporary two-way traffic lights will be in place until Sunday (18 December) while the new road surface sets.

“We’re really sorry for the impact this emergency work has had. While we prepare for further repairs in January we’ll be using tankers to take sewage away from properties in the area to make sure no homes fall victim to flooding.

”The company will be working closely with Worcestershire County Council on plans to carry out more work in January which will require another full closure of the A38.

Craig continues: “We’ll have colleagues out speaking to residents and businesses in Kempsey today to explain what’s happening. Once again I’d like to apologise for the inconvenience this work has caused to both local people and to commuters into Worcester.”

Jon Fraser, Worcestershire County Council's Highways Spokesman added, "Worcestershire Highways have been working closely with Severn Trent on this work.  It is a complex repair and we are very pleased that Severn Trent have taken the decision to get the road reopened as quickly as possible to minimise disruption over the busy Christmas period.

"By planning the repair in January, Severn Trent are able to forewarn local people and give them the chance to prepare for it. There is some more inconvenience to come but we hope residents will bear with us and appreciate we have taken these steps to keep people moving during the holiday period and get the essential repair complete as quickly as possible."