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Problems with A47 manhole cover come to an end with final repairs

PUBLISHED: 15:03 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:03 13 February 2018

The A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton . Pic: Highways England.

The A47 between North Tuddenham and Easton . Pic: Highways England.

Highways England

Repairs to the damaged manhole cover that caused travel chaos last week are expected to be completed before evening rush hour.

The manhole cover, located on the eastbound carriageway of the A47 near Easton, came loose on Thursday morning and police quickly responded by closing the road and implementing traffic management measures.

At the peak of the morning rush hour, road users faced delays of more than two hours as they took turns to travel down the busy route.

The police, Highways England and BT - which maintains the manhole cover - all responded to the problem, yet it took more than 12 hours for a temporary fix to be put in place.

Commuters caught in the morning’s rush hour delays had to endure the same travel woes on their way home.

Highways England have closed the road for a second time today while engineers complete the repairs to the damaged road surface but this time they are confident that normal traffic conditions will be restored before the evening rush hour.

“British Telecom replaced the manhole cover but the damaged road surface still had to be resurfaced,” a spokesperson explained.

“As this is a single carriageway at this point, it necessitated traffic management using stop and go boards, with the police doing this at first. Hence it takes time for the road to be resurfaced and for this to set.

“There is brickwork under the frame of the manhole cover which was deteriorating, which loosened the frame of the manhole and caused it to drop. Thus work needed to be done to reset the manhole itself, for the new surfacing to set before the road could be reopened for traffic.

“This also delayed the temporary resurfacing of the road around the manhole. The road should be fully reopened and operating as normal imminently.”

A spokesperson for BT openreach added: “Our engineers attended the site [on Thursday] to carry out an emergency repair on a broken joint box, frame and manhole cover in the carriage way.

“The nature of the repair meant we had to carry out the work at the earliest and safest opportunity possible.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience caused to drivers whilst this emergency work was being carried out.”

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