• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Roads closed across Oxford amid burst water pipe and severe flooding


Oct 5, 2022

MOTORISTS and public transport users faced misery after a burst water pipe caused severe flooding and the closure of part of the Oxford ring road.

The Eastern Bypass was closed to traffic between the Heyford Hill and Rose Hill roundabouts after the Thames Water pipe failed yesterday morning, flooding the carriageway. The closure saw gridlock with lengthy delays on all approaches continuing into the evening and forcing the closure of a school.

John Henry Newman Academy in Littlemore shut for the day as it had no water supply. Some local households were also left without water or with low pressure.

Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire Fire Service were called to the scene while Thames Water staff struggled to fix the leak.

Read more: LIVE UPDATES: Burst water main causing major delays on A423

Cycle and footpaths were also submerged.

Police advised drivers to avoid the area entirely but hoped the road would reopen last night.

The closure caused massive disruption to bus services. A spokesperson for Oxford Bus company and Thames Travel said: “We experienced unprecedented severe delays to roads within Oxford, Abingdon and the A34 heading into the city.”

Policeman directing traffic during flood

The incident came just weeks after the weekend-long closure of a nearby section of the ring road, on the A34 at Hinksey, caused by another burst Thames Water pipe which flooded the road and caused the collapse of part of the verge.

Yesterday’s flooding, which came amid an ongoing hosepipe ban, has renewed criticism of the water company.

A Thames Water spokesperson said yesterday: “We are sorry to customers who have no water or lower pressure than normal due to the burst pipe on Heyford Hill. We also apologise to drivers in the area who have been caught up in congestion as a result of the burst.”

The company said engineers stopped the flow of water from the burst while repair teams excavated and repaired the main.

Tankers were brought in to take away the water from the dual carriageway to enable the road to reopen.

The spokesperson continued: “Customers who were affected by the burst should be back in supply and we’re moving water around our network to help boost supplies.

“We’re also delivering bottled water to our customers who have pre-registered with us as having special requirements, such as being medically reliant on water.”

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

Major flooding near Heyford Hill roundabout

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 proposes installing roadblock ‘traffic filters’ stopping most drivers from crossing the city and forcing them onto the already-overstretched ring road. It also plans to expand the city’s Zero Emission Zone, further pushing drivers onto the by-passes.

City councillor for Littlemore Nadine Bely-Summers said: “These leaks always seem to happen around Littlemore. What is wrong with the infrastructure around this area? It creates traffic, it affects families through school closures and some people have even told me it has affected the lighting in their houses.

“There was a pipe burst on Littlemore roundabout in August during which people couldn’t use the underpass. They had to cross the Eastern Bypass, which is very dangerous. And all of this was during the hosepipe ban.

“Water companies are not regulated properly and they are causing a lot of problems for a lot of people.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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