Will Sweet Briar Road repairs be completed by the end of the month?

Sweet Briar Road has been closed since February 17

Sweet Briar Road has been closed since February 17. Inset, Wensum county councillor Maxine Webb - Credit: Sonya Duncan/Maxine Webb

Patience is wearing thin as a busy section of Norwich's city ring road remains shut three months after a burst water main damaged the embankment below.

Sweet Briar Road has been blocked off since February 17.

Works to reopen the busy stretch are due to be completed by the end of May, Anglian Water has confirmed.

The company explained: "This is an incredibly complex repair which has required stringent health and safety measures be put in place before work was able to begin."

It follows countless push backs and delays, with a previous timeframe for reopening given as the end of April.

Sweet Briar Road remains closed after a bridge partially collapsed.

Sweet Briar Road remains closed after a bridge partially collapsed. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

Labour councillor Chrissie Rumsby represents Mile Cross on Norfolk County Council, which includes Sweet Briar Road Industrial Estate.

She said businesses are bearing the brunt of the "misery" and "carnage" the closure has caused.

When asked if business owners working tirelessly to make ends meet can claim for compensation, Anglian Water - which made £136.4m in 2021- merely pointed bosses to their respective insurers.

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Cllr Rumsby added: "This affects most of Norwich now. It just seems to be taking so long."

The councillor is now the spokeswoman for the Infrastructure and Development select committee on Norfolk County Council and said she will be contacting Cllr Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport to see what more can be done to speed up the process.

Chrissie Rumsby, councillor for Mile Cross, said racists were the last thing the area needed.

Chrissie Rumsby, councillor for Mile Cross, said racists were the last thing the area needed. - Credit: Labour Party

She added: "This has been going on for several months now. There must be something county highways can do to help.

"It's frustrating. A lot of roads around Sweet Briar are now choc-a-block.

"For example Aylsham Road, everyone there is losing business because of the congestion.

"Deprived areas like that can't afford to lose amenities like the post office and takeaways if this continues.

"Aylsham Road is worse off because of the Sweet Briar Road closure, everywhere's so congested."

She added: "To begin with everyone appreciated that there was a lot to do but months have gone by now and it's still not been finished.

"We keep getting told it'll be another month. How many more months will it be? Business are taking the hit.

"Will there be an end to it?"

A spokeswoman for Anglian Water added: "The initial work on the embankment has been completed and we have begun replacing the damaged pipe.

"Once the work on the pipe is complete we will finalise the remainder of the reinstatement of the embankment."

Cllr Maxine Webb, Labour county councillor for the neighbouring Wensum division, added that Sweet Briar Road's closure is having a heavy impact on residential areas in terms of speeding and traffic congestion.

"People speeding can be really quite dangerous," she said.

Maxine Webb, Labour county councillor for Norwich's Wensum ward.

Maxine Webb, Labour county councillor for Norwich's Wensum ward. - Credit: Maxine webb

"There's also concerns for the little bridge over Hellesdon Road which is weight restricted.

"Extra traffic is coming over because Sweet Briar Road is closed. 

"Traffic is being diverted through Hellesdon. We don't want anything to happen to that bridge, too. We don't want any more bridges collapsing."

She added: "It's also impacting businesses on Hellesdon Industrial Estate.

"There's still an awful lot of work to do. If it isn't going to be done, we need to be telling people and finding out why it's taking this long. 

"People have been really understanding but the longer it goes on, patience wears thin.

Hellesdon Hall Road, Norwich

Queues on Hellesdon Road, just off Sweet Briar Road in Norwich - Credit: Archant

"The businesses are bearing the brunt of these delays."

When asked if working overnight was a possibility to speed up repair works, an Anglian Water spokeswoman said that teams have been working extended working hours - including weekends - and remain focused on getting the job done as quickly and safely as possible.

She added: "We would like to thank everyone for the patience while this emergency work is taking place, and apologise for the disruption this is causing to road users.”