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Almost 300 homes left without water after pipe bursts on Oxford Ring Road


Oct 6, 2022

A BURST water main on the Oxford Ring Road caused chaos for a second day, as almost 300 homes were left without water for hours and drivers were stuck in gridlock.

The Eastern Bypass was closed to traffic between the Heyford Hill and Rose Hill roundabouts after the Thames Water pipe failed on Tuesday morning, flooding the carriageway.

The closure saw gridlock with lengthy delays on Tuesday, which continued into the evening and into yesterday morning. The misery is expected to continue with the road remaining closed until at least Friday for resurfacing work.

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Homes in Garsington, Wheatley, Great Milton and Stanton St John were left without water for more than 24 hours.

Many schools closed due to congestion or lack of water supply. According to Oxfordshire County Council, 11 schools were closed including Wheatley Park School, nursery and primary schools, and Garsington, Great Milton, Horspath, Little Milton, St Laurence, Stadhampton, Tyndale and John Watson schools.

Thames Water confirmed that 290 properties had been affected and set up two bottled water collections points at Tesco in Ambassador Avenue and Asda in London Road, in Wheatley, so that people could pick up the supplies they needed.

Lucy Brooks, who lives in Garsington with her family, was left without water in her house since 10pm on Tuesday.

Her children, who attend Garsington school, stayed at home yesterday after the school was shut.

She said: “We have four boys under nine, we are staying at home for now. We will have to wait and see what happens.

“We have bottled water so should be okay for a while, we went to Tesco early this morning, at about 7am, to avoid the busy roads.”

Lin Juggins, who also lives in Garsington, said: “We had no water from 10pm last night and no idea when we will have any, we had to collect water from car park at Tesco’s this morning.”

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Eve Ousley, from Wheatley, said she had to go to stay at a relative’s house after she realised her home had no water yesterday morning.

She said: “I woke up at 6am and there was none my workplace was also shut as there was no way we could operate without water.

“I went to stay with family and I feel so lucky because I know that not everyone has that choice.”

Tim Bearder, a Lib Dem councillor who represents Wheatley on the county council, said: “I’ve spoken to residents and they were spreading the word about where to find bottled water and looking after each other, which was great to see. Anything that happens on the ring road will cause congestion and has a huge impact on the quality of life of the community.

“We can’t continue to rely on the ring road and on private cars and that is what we are trying to push as an administration.”

Thames Water said engineers were working to complete the repairs to the burst pipe but that the road would then need to be resurfaced and made safe before being reinstated. They estimated water supplies to return to normal by this morning.

The Oxford ring road has been hit by closures over the last few months fuelling concerns that stretches of the road are overstressed and at breaking point.

As well as last month’s weekend-long closure due to a Thames Water pipe burst, the road has been closed following crashes and for resurfacing road, leading to congestion and misery for motorists and bus passengers.

It comes as Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, has proposed to install traffic filters stopping most drivers from crossing the city.

Concerns have been raised over the resulting increase in traffic on the already overstressed ring road, while the council says they are “designed to reduce traffic, make bus journeys faster and make walking and cycling safer” in the city.

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi