We understand the inconvenience the SGN works are causing residents. Whilst we always attempt to minimise issues caused by street works, sometimes disruption is unavoidable and out of our hands. As on this occasion, utility companies such as SGN have legal rights to carry out work to their apparatus and equipment within the highway. While the Council tries to work with them to minimise disruption to the travelling public, it is ultimately the legal responsibility of the undertaker to risk assess, design, install and maintain their temporary traffic management. Where works are positioned on a major strategic road, such as at this location, disruption is inevitable.
In this case, the Council was alerted to SGN’s need to replace gas mains along Bath Road earlier this summer. An application for a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) was received by SGN in late July and was therefore too late to permit work during the summer holidays which would have been the preference. That also takes into account the week of Reading Festival where we would not have permitted these works to begin and other works that had already been planned for this school holiday period.
We are aware that in particular central and west Reading have been impacted so far. This has been magnified by road traffic incidents and other works which we hope will have less impact over the remaining scheduled three weeks of the work. A signed diversion is in place, and we have asked SGN to work extended hours to speed up these works and to adjust temporary lights during peak hours to improve traffic flow as far as possible in this location. SGN’s work is to replace 100 metres of what is categorised as high risk gas main in order for local residents and businesses to continue to be able to access gas supplies in the local area.