Three Oaks resident begs water company to open bridge

Three Oaks bridge closure, Butcher's Lane. SUS-170221-111403001
Three Oaks bridge closure, Butcher's Lane. SUS-170221-111403001

A Three Oaks resident is begging the water company to permanently reopen the bridge which cuts the village in two.

Mark Chapman, of Maxfield Lane, wants Southern Water to keep Butcher’s Lane open so villagers do not have to take a three-mile detour to get to the other side.

The bridge was opened over Christmas and at weekends but the lorry driver believes it could be done all the time while Southern Water insists it cannot.

Mr Chapman says most residents are affected by the road closure, and the pub is losing trade, so he hopes the water firm will change its mind.

“There’s no reason for it to be shut, they drive a 10-tonne dumper truck over it every day and leave excavators on it every day,” he said.

“It’s not like it’s a weak bridge, you can drive up to it but not over it – it’s a farce.”

Southern Water has been installing a public sewage system and pumping station for environmental reasons with rolling roadworks since last year.

The road closures have meant Mr Chapman, and many others, have to do a three-mile detour to get to Hastings.

A spokesman for the water company said the work on the bridge is done but it would be unsafe to open it at the moment.

“Work is progressing well on our project to build a first-time public sewerage system in the village and we’d like to thank customers for their patience,” she said.

“The work on the bridge has been completed but we can’t open it yet as we have crews working in roads nearby and it would be unsafe to have traffic driving over – the safety of road users and our workforce is always our highest priority.

“We’re doing all we can to ease the impact on residents, such as opening the bridge at weekends – as it falls within a full road closure, we’ve got permission to keep it closed for the duration of the scheme but do open it when it is safe to do so.

“We’ve been praised for our efforts to make things easier but we know the project is still causing some disruption – we’re sorry about this.

“We’re aiming to finish the project in early 2018 but will do all we can to reopen the bridge sooner. We will keep residents updated.”

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