There have been temporary traffic lights near the junction with Hewitt Road for much of the day. Thames Water are dealing with a sewer problem. The drain from one house is blocked and Thames Water need to examine the problem from inside the sewer. It seems however that the last time the road was surfaced, the manhole cover was buried under the tarmac so they first had to locate it, dig up the surface, replace the manhole cover with a new one at the new road surface level before they could enter the sewer to start clearing the blockage. This is the stage they have reached.
They probably broke the sewers when they patched the broken gas pipes last year.
Either that or just the cumulative effect of 1000+ vehicles per hour (incl. 1000 HGVs per day) on a road that is totally unsuitable for that volume of traffic.
Working to deal with the sewer problem involved digging a hole about two metres square down to a depth of four metres so that men could get access to the main sewer pipe at the point where the house drain pipe joins it. The foreman explained that the problem was that the house drain pipe had broken and collapsed at a point under the footway. He did not offer an explanantion beyond saying that both it and the main sewer are old clay pipes and that they may have been disturbed by the numerous disturbances in the ground above them since they were laid over a 100 years ago.
He said that the repair had been completed and that it now remained to construct a cylindrical access column in the hole before refilling and installing a new access cover in the road surface. Here is a photo of the hole yesterday showing two men standing on the main sewer pipe. Their road works permit expires today (21st July) so they will have to work fast to get this job finished on schedule. In the photo we can see that they found an unexpected drain pipe of some sort that was crossing the road at this point. To avoid disturbing it, they have supported it in a sling while working beneath it. Fortunately they did not encounter the west side water and low pressure gas mains which lie to the left of the hole nor the medium pressure gas main which lies to the right of the hole.
Just to cheer us up, the foreman said that he understood Virgin Media were waiting for this work to be completed before starting to install a new cable duct along Wightman Road. Normally communications ducts would be located under the footway but we shall soon see what is proposed.
I was wondering about the progress of this hole Dick; glad you've been looking into it :)
The hole itself seems nearly a metre away from the kerb so interesting that it relates to the drain pipe under the footway. It's quite close to a "pedestrian refuge" pavement ramp though, which was damaged by National Grid vehicles when the gas pipes were being re-lined last year. When the road was re-surfaced a bodge repair to the ramp was made with some leftover tarmac and looked like this for a few weeks until it was finally made safe: