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City centre road reopened after water main bursts causing traffic chaos in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:50 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:01 31 August 2017

Traffic queues around Bethel Street, St Giles Street and St Peters Street due to the burst water main on Exchange Street. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Traffic queues around Bethel Street, St Giles Street and St Peters Street due to the burst water main on Exchange Street. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

archant 2017

A busy Norwich road has reopened after a burst water main brought traffic in the city centre to a standstill.

Exchange Street closed due to water main leak. Picture : ANTONY KELLYExchange Street closed due to water main leak. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Water burst through the tarmac in Exchange Street on Tuesday, August 29, which led to the street and Gaol Hill closing.

This caused long tailbacks as traffic was directed from St Giles Street back up Bethel Street.

This then backed up onto the inner ring road causing further delays as far back as Ketts Hill, two miles down the road on the opposite side of the city.

On the city’s buses, First Group tweeted that services were running with at least a 40 minute delay.

Thorns sales assistant Glen Gates outside the shop. Picture : ANTONY KELLYThorns sales assistant Glen Gates outside the shop. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Staff at Thorns DIY watched the leak as it developed and began to flood the street before they phoned the police.

They feared that the surface was coming loose and, as the store’s basement goes under the road, a sinkhole could have emerged.

Customer assistant Glen Gates described how the “road surface seemed to be moving around like a water bed” and that: “If it happened while deliveries were going on, all it would have taken was the wrong vehicle in the wrong place and they could have fallen through.

“We had vehicles coming down the road this morning and mounting the pavement to get around it.

Florence Orme from Woolf and Bird restaurant on Exchange Street. Picture : ANTONY KELLYFlorence Orme from Woolf and Bird restaurant on Exchange Street. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

“It’s crazy how one little road affects the whole city.”

Elsewhere in the street though, businesses were welcoming the reduced movement of cars.

Florence Orme, manager of Woolf and Bird, said: “If anything we have been busier. I originally thought it would be a lot worse as the police had come down but it wasn’t.

“We had a phone call from our delivery saying they would be late but that wasn’t a problem.”

Traffic queues around Bethel Street, St Giles Street and St Peters Street due to the burst water main on Exchange Street. Picture : ANTONY KELLYTraffic queues around Bethel Street, St Giles Street and St Peters Street due to the burst water main on Exchange Street. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

A spokesman for Anglian Water said: “Repair to the leak was completed overnight, with our engineers working until around 4am on Wednesday.”

The spokesman added: “Anglian Water apologises for any inconvenience caused by the works.”


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