STROUD residents face more travel disruptions as Western Power begins the second phase of its works to lay new electricity cables.
The project will see a series of road closures, diversions and temporary traffic lights in the town, initially at Toadsmoor; London Road, Thrupp and on Dr Newtons Way.
The works are part of a £2.4 million project to install a ‘resilient’ electrical supply to 35,000 properties in the Stroud area, with 10km of new 33KV underground cable being laid from Toadsmoor to Ryeford.
Although road signage indicates the works will take 24 weeks, it will be taking place in sections, and this latest phase of the operation is expected to take seven weeks.
Phase 1, which has now been completed, saw cable laid on Dudbridge Road / Dudbridge Hill junction.
And now three teams are working their way along the Phase 2 route – and will be initially based at Toadsmoor, London Road, Thrupp and on Dr Newtons Way.
There will be a series of road closures, diversions and temporary traffic lights throughout, leading to extra traffic delays.
Western Power has apologised for any inconvenience caused, but said the works are essential to ‘future proof Stroud’s electricity network’.
Gloucestershire County Council has taken the step of requesting that the contractors should be given manual control of all the temporary traffic lights, to help manage the flow of vehicles.
Paul Helbrow, local highways manager for GCC, said: “To minimise any inconvenience for residents, we have asked the contractors working for Western Power to manually control the traffic lights from 7am to 7pm while the cable installation works are carried out to help manage the flow of traffic.
“We will be monitoring the situation and can put the works on hold in the event of any major disruption.”
County councillor John Bloxsom (Labour, Rodborough) said that although the works will cause traffic disruption, there should be fewer power outages as a result.
He said: “These major works are going to be very disruptive to travel in the area.
“Those who have to use roads every day will find this tough.
“At the end, however, increased capacity will make local power supply more reliable with hopefully fewer power outages.”
A spokeswoman for Western Power said: “The new cable will deliver a more reliable electricity supply and reduce power cuts for more than 36,000 existing customers.
“It will also ensure the network is ready to meet an expected increase in demand for electricity in the Stroud area, as a result of new developments and as more people switch to low carbon technologies, like electric vehicles and heat pumps.
“While we have tried to minimise the impact of the works wherever possible, there will be temporary traffic lights in place and some disruption to local traffic.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused during these essential works to future proof Stroud’s electricity network.”