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DEADLINE THREAT FORROAD WORKS; Contractors face pounds 2,000 daily penalty.

Byline: ARRYN BUGGINS

CONTRACTORS causing road misery in Leamington and Warwick face charges of pounds 2,000 per day if they do not complete the work by Friday.

Road closures have caused gridlock in both towns while Severn Trent Water has been carrying out a pounds 170,000 project to modernise Leamington's ageing sewer system and protect the River Leam from pollution.

Restrictions have been in place since March 3, in the High Street from the junction of Lower Avenue to Bath Street. It has been reduced to one lane, allowing traffic out of town, but barring vehicles coming in the other direction.

The work in High Street should have taken six weeks and Severn Trent was given an extension. If this is not met the penalty fees will come into effect.

A Warwick District Council spokesman said: "All statutory contractors work to time limits, which applies to any work under section 74 of the New Roads and Street Works Act.

"If Severn Trent Water does not have the work finished by Friday it will be charged a penalty fee of pounds 2,000 per day, which is not a fine. It is the local authority's responsibility to keep the roads open, and make sure contractors do not take as long as they want to finish the job."

A Severn Trent Water spokesman said: "The council is entitled to charge penalty fees if the work overruns. We have met them and agreed to have the work completed by Friday, which is good news for residents.

"We have encountered some serious problems during the work. There are a large number of utility services in a close area, and workers had to dig around gas pipes, electric cables and water pipes.

"The last piece of pipe is going in today, and from tomorrow work will start to resurface the road, which is on target to finish on Friday."

Cubbington parish councillor David Saul said: "The public understand that the works are necessary, but their patience is running out."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 7, 2002
Words:336
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