Official says Underpass could be closed until next week

The Croydon Underpass, surely something worthy of any National Trust tour of the glorious mistakes of the 1960s, remained partially closed for a third day today, causing long delays on Wellesley Road in the town centre, after a five-foot hole opened up on the north-bound carriageway on Wednesday.

Rioad Closed Croydon UnderpassAccording to a senior council official, the Underpass is unlikely to be fully re-opened again until after the weekend.

What has become known as “the void” opened up while contractors were carrying out “public realm improvements” for the council. Yes: “improvements”. And this chaos is all before any work begins on the Hammersfield development.

According to Steve Iles, the council’s director of streets, in a memo to senior Town Hall figures yesterday, “Thus far our investigation has identified the cavity is from the centre island and goes across the northbound carriageway towards the exit ramp of Whitgift Car Park and is some 1.8m deep approximately 16 metres long and 8 meters [sic] wide.

“Whilst the cause could be a number of reasons we currently believe it’s probable as a result of the old redundant tramway ducting which was abandoned in the 1950s which has acted as a conduit for ground water to wash away the subsoil although this is not confirmed.

“The teams are working around the clock and will continue to do so to minimise the disruption and length of time the closure is needed, our current estimation is the road is likely to remain closed for the next 3-4 days, this is subject to no further issues being identified.”

Those “further issues” include all the tunnelling for utilities, including gas, water and electricity, which have been checked for safety and tto ensure they remain secure.


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6 Responses to Official says Underpass could be closed until next week

  1. derekthrower says:

    Must be worrying for our hero developers all these unannounced sinkholes in our Development zone and this one is a real pearler.

  2. I don’t think trams ever ran in Wellesley Road as all the old plans only show then running in North End and not Wellesley Road. The ducting found is therefore more likely to relate to some other utility.

  3. croydonres says:

    Maybe the “tramway” is in fact the old branch line that terminated in Croydon Central, the sunken part of the Queens’ Gardens.

  4. Tram routes 16, 18 and 42 ran directly down North End, nowhere near Wellesley Road. I think the old rail branch to Queen’s Gardens came down under what is now Fairfield Halls.

  5. Nick Davies says:

    You can see the tramway and railway layout in the mid 1890s here

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