More than 100 people attend drop in session about Worcestershire mains replacement scheme 

February 16th 2024

More than 100 people attended a Severn Trent public drop-in session to hear more about a Worcestershire mains replacement scheme to improve water supply – and have their questions answered.  

The vital works are taking place from 19th February to 13th May on the A448 Kidderminster Road in Chaddesley Corbett.

The scheme will involve the closure of a section of the busy carriageway, with a traffic diversion in place along necessary alternative A-roads during the 12 week project.

This week a drop-in session took place at Chaddesley Corbett village hall, with Severn Trent staff on hand to answer questions from the public.

Locals heard about the positive benefits of the scheme, which will improve water supply to households in the surrounding area, and were able to quiz Severn Trent staff on everything from roadworks to diversions.

They included Alan Wakeman, a parish councillor at nearby Stone village. He welcomed the fact Severn Trent had spent the time “explaining the reasons for the project” and added: “This prevents a lot of conjecture and unfounded rumours.  It will also, hopefully, put their minds at rest regarding the inconvenience of the road closure.”

He also raised concerns about local rat-runs being created by the 22-mile diversion and said: “I think most people present accepted that the road needed to be closed and were mainly concerned about traffic management and diversions. The official diversion route being through West Hagley on the A456 West Hagley is already a bottleneck and this route is likely to significantly increase the Kidderminster to Bromsgrove journey time.”

Resident Stephen Pierson had also raised the issue of ambulances gaining access during the road closure. “A big question for me was will ambulances going to be able to get through if needed,” he said.  “That was a concern, but I do understand that this work needs to take place.”

Project Manager Yasmin Cherik reassured residents that all alternative diversions had been looked at, but the one selected was the only suitable route to carry heavy traffic, including HGVs. Severn Trent has been in contact with emergency services operating in the area about the works, to ensure necessary access routes for emergencies, she added.

She was also quizzed by other residents on why the scheme was taking 12 weeks to complete and why the whole road section would need to be closed, rather than two-way traffic lights installed.

She said: “We will have to dig through a layer of Tarmac up to one metre deep because of the amount of resurfacing works that have taken place over the years. That involves digging through a lot of hard rock.

“And unfortunately, the only clear route to install the new main is in the centre of the road, which means we cannot have a two-way traffic system as there is not enough room to maintain safety for passing vehicles as well as our workforce.

“We do understand how frustrating these roadworks are for people, but we will be working as fast as we can to get this scheme completed as quickly as possible.

“For instance our teams will be working seven days a week, from 7am to 7pm, to get this job done as quickly as possible.”

Paul Hughes, Community Communications Officer at Severn Trent, said he was delighted so many people had turned out for the drop-in session ahead of the scheme starting on Monday.

He said: “We answered a lot of questions during the evening because we want to be as open as possible with people.

“We do understand the upset caused by these kind of roadworks and diversions, which are used to protect our workers and the public as we carry out essential mains replacement.

“The Chaddesley Corbett works are very important as they will improve the water supply to households in the surrounding area, who have suffered issues in the past.”

Jon Fraser, for Worcestershire County Council Highways, previously said: “Whilst people may be frustrated that the A448 needs to be fully closed for these important works, I’m sure that they will understand that the safety of both the travelling public and the workforce is paramount. WCC will liaise closely with Severn Trent to ensure that the job is completely as quickly as possible.”