By Ella Hopkins
The weight of traffic of thousands of HGV lorries trucking in rubbish to be burned at the Beddington Lane incinerator has seen the vital route closed for “safety-critical” emergency works.
The closure could last up to six months and will see traffic diverted down Hilliers Lane, Croydon Road, Purley Way and Ampere Way.
Gas company SGN yesterday began the works to replace leaking gas pipes, which were in danger of being crushed as Beddington Lane crumbles under the pressure of heavy daily traffic.
It is the second time in less than three years that Beddington Lane has had to be closed off to traffic entirely for a period of three months or more.
One local councillor maintains that Beddington Lane requires £13million-worth of improvements to withstand the traffic demands created by the incinerator and other industrial plants in the area – a bill which neither Sutton Council nor Transport for London have so far been willing to pay.
The works, in four phases, could last until March 29 at the earliest; a press release from Sutton suggests the works will take until the end of June.
“All the buried services are getting smashed up because of the weight of HGV traffic,” Nick Mattey, the independent councillor for Beddington North, said.
“The full impact of the scheme will only be seen in the next few weeks. Lorries are being stacked pointing south on the east side of Beddington Lane. HGV traffic has significantly increased on the A237 going through Hackbridge to the incinerator.
“The cost of the upgrade to make the road fit for purpose is £13million,” Mattey said.
In the first phase of works, Beddington Lane will be closed on the junction between Elberon Avenue and Jessops Way for six weeks. Two bus stops between Elberon Avenue and the roundabout with Coomber Way will be suspended over this period. In gas works areas, the speed limit will be reduced to 20mph.
The works will be carried out in four phases by SGN contractor Forefront Utilities. They will replace the old metal gas mains with plastic pipes.
“We need to carry out safety-critical work to upgrade the gas network in Beddington Lane,” said SGN spokesperson Ben Bradley.
“This needs to go ahead now, rather than wait until the pandemic passes, to ensure the local community continues to receive a safe and reliable gas supply.
“We understand that people can get frustrated by roadworks. However, the new plastic pipe has a minimum lifespan of 80 years and will be able to withstand local traffic travelling overhead.”
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