A256 Sandwich Bypass sewer repairs, Great Stonar

We’re repairing a related set of sewer bursts in and around Sandwich. We’re sorry for any delays to road journeys and for our tanker traffic while we carry out this essential work.

  • We apologise to users of the A256 near Sandwich who are likely to face major delays.
  • Please allow plenty of extra time for journeys.

Several bursts occurring so close together is unusual – and we’re still unsure why the pipes have failed, as they’re still within their usual lifespan. We’re carrying out chemical and structural analysis to understand what caused this.

This work has been given top priority and our engineers and specialist consultants worked right through the holiday season.

Thank you for your patience while we do this work as quickly as we can.

What’s happening?
A256 by Discovery Park

Whilst undertaking surveys to assess the road’s integrity, a further issue has been identified on a second sewer pipe which takes wastewater flows from the Deal area  – the two sewer pipes run in parallel underneath the same section of the road. Additional tankers have been brought in to manage wastewater flows and protect the environment whilst we carry out further repairs. Tanker movements will be most notable at the site of our repairs on the A256 and at Golf Road Wastewater Pumping Station in Deal. There will be no impact on our ongoing activities near the Quay in Sandwich.

 

Central Sandwich, near the Quay

A sewer pipe has burst directly under the River Stour. To prevent any wastewater flowing into the river, we’re no longer using the pipe. Instead, a fleet of tankers is rotating to remove Sandwich’s wastewater. You may have seen Thames Water logos on some of them – we’ve borrowed these to help out.

27 February update

A256 near Discovery Park

  • We’ve repaired the burst pipe beneath the A256.

  • Work to start final road repairs started on 26 February.

  • We will be working extended shifts to complete repairs and reopen the road as soon as possible.

By the Quay

  • Plan to drill under the river and lay new pipe has been approved.

  • To protect the river from pollution and maintain wastewater services to residents, tankers are required to remain in the area – we are keeping the number to an absolute minimum.

  • Exploratory digging found historical timbers and therefore required original dig location to move.

  • New dig location has been approved with work commencing on 2 March – we are working closely with local groups affected to minimise impact and make improvements to the area once we leave.

Thank you for your patience whilst we make the necessary repairs in the local area.

 

Previous updates

13 February update
  • Repair works to the burst pipes under the A256 are now complete – we are working with KCC Highways to reopen the road as soon as possible. We will communicate a start date for reinstatement as soon as this is agreed.
  • A256 Southbound Carriageway remains closed – a diversion is in place along Monk’s Way and through Discovery Park (shown on the map above).
  • A256 Northbound Carriage way will fully reopen as soon as we have removed all plant and equipment.
  • Work near the River Stour to repair burst under the river itself continues – due to location within Scheduled Monument, we are working closely with Historic England to allow us to complete drilling under the river and lay the new pipe.
  • Permission to drill exploratory boreholes in the area was granted. However, after timber was found during our first drill, we have now paused work and are being guided by Historic England on how to proceed (it is believed the timber may be related to a medieval boat previously found in the area and only partially excavated), although the dynamic nature means this is continually evolving.
  • We're working hard to minimise the impact of tankers – using as few as possible, keeping them out of the town when we can, and obeying a strict 20mph speed limit (10mph at night) between the pumping station near the Quay Car Park and the water treatment works.
03 February update
What progress is being made on the A256?

Southern Water’s repair to a burst pipe under the A256 is now complete. Although we cannot reintroduce pressurised flow to test the repair due to the other burst on the same stretch of pipe under the River Stour near The Bulwark.

We know that what people really want to know is when the A256 will be reopening – and we are delighted that the final survey looking at the integrity of the road is being completed by Southern Water this week. From these surveys the Council can decide when the closure can be removed.

What progress is being made at the Quay?

In the meantime work to repair the burst under the river continues. We are making good progress with plans to drill under the river bed and lay completely new pipe. Due to the location within a Scheduled Monument we cannot start major digging until we have all the permissions we need. We are working closely with Historic England to get started as soon as possible. Preliminary work is underway.

Why are tankers travelling through Sandwich Town?

We apologise again to residents for the continued requirement for tankers and wish to assure them that we are doing working hard to end the need. Right now they are unfortunately the only way to maintain wastewater services and protect the environment. In the meantime we’ll continue to use the lowest number we can and ensure they stick to the enforced 20mph speed limit.  

We are also exploring a temporary solution which may mean we can stop the tankers even sooner; we will keep everyone updated on this.

29 January update
What progress is being made on the A256?

As of 28 January 2020, a CCTV survey of the pipe has been completed at the A256 and a large section of damaged pipe has been identified, with repair work now underway.

Does this mean the road can be reopened?

Survey of the road’s geo-grid by Kent County Council Highways can now start, with a view to reopening the road as soon as possible. However, until survey is complete we cannot confirm when the road will be reopened. Safety of road users and the integrity of the road structure are our priorities.

What progress is being made at the Quay?

We are pushing ahead as fast as possible with a scheme to sink a temporary pipe across the Stour so we can cease tankering before the permanent repair is complete. At the same time we are preparing to use directional drilling to create a tunnel for a new permanent pipe.

How is Southern Water communicating with customers?

To keep customers informed, we continue to attend the Quay Car Park with our community van on a part time basis. However, to secure a regular presence, a space is being made available in the foyer of the Guildhall in Sandwich and we intend to make information available, and then hold regular drop-in sessions for face to face Q&As.

Why are tankers travelling through Sandwich Town?

All route options were explored with Kent County Council Highways. However, no other feasible route was available other than to travel through central Sandwich. We have listened to the concerns of residents and a speed restriction of 20 mph is in place (10mph overnight) to minimise impact, we are minimising the number of tankers where possible.

27 January update

On Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 January (8:30am to 4pm), our customer team will be at Quay Car Park, Sandwich CT13 9EW to answer your questions - please pop by if you can.

24 January update

Yesterday (23 January), we met with Sandwich Town Team, Devon District Council, Kent County Council Highways, the Environment Agency and Discovery Park to answer questions and work together to plan our repair work.

We’re grateful for customers’ feedback and suggestions. Please keep sharing your thoughts and concerns with us.

20 January update

Our customer team will be at Quay Car Park, Sandwich CT13 9EW at these times:

  • Mon 20 January, 1pm till 4pm
  • Tues 21 January - Thurs 23 January, 9am till 4pm
  • Fri 24 January, 9am till noon.

Please pop by if you can – the team will be happy to answer your questions.

17 January update

Our customer team will be at Quay Car Park, Sandwich CT13 9EW until 1pm today (Friday 17 January) to answer your questions - please pop by if you can.

  • We'll also be available in the same location on Saturday 18 January from midday to 4pm
  • We'll be back at Quay Car Park during next week, starting at lunch time on Monday 20 January
  • Availability for the rest of the week is to be confirmed.
14 January update

We're working behind the scenes with Kent County Council to survey the safety of the road - so there's work happening, even if it doesn't look like much is going on.

9 January update
  • We’re very sorry to residents in the CT13 9 area near Sandwich Road for any disturbance caused by traffic last night and throughout today.
  • We’re using tankers to remove wastewater flows and protect the environment while repairs are undertaken on the wastewater network.
  • Thank you for your patience while we complete this work – it may continue over the next couple of days.
How to find out more

For the latest and most up-to-date information please keep an eye on this page, along with Southern Water’s Facebook page and@SouthernWater on Twitter.

In addition, we will:

  • display information boards in the Guildhall
  • keep employees available on the Quay
  • update local press
  • provide letter drops to residents.

We also hope to set up an email update service and be part of the drop-in event linked to the Golf Open at the Guildhall on 10 February.

Frequently asked questions

Why are we seeing Southern Water working in our area?

We regret that there have been three separate incidents all in a few months of each other, which have been impacting wastewater services in Thanet/East Kent and around Sandwich since late 2019.

What is Southern Water working on in East Kent?

  1. Pipe burst on Military Road/ Sandwich Road in early November 2019. Southern Water committed to replacing over 6km of pipeline in this area, with 4.5km completed in 2015, but in November the remaining pipe still due for replacement began to leak in one place, a temporary overland pipe was installed until the final section is replaced – due for completion by early 2021.

  2. Burst pipe in late November 2019 under the A256 between Ramsgate Roundabout and Monks Way Roundabout – which is currently being worked on in partnership with Kent County Council Highways. Due to the complex nature of the location caused by the burst being under the built-up section of the road it took time to locate the actual burst, but this has now been fixed.

  3. Burst pipe under the River Stour near to The Bulwark in early 2020 which is currently being worked on, however, due to complex nature of it being under the river the initial, more ideal repair failed. We will now drill under the river bed and lay new pipe but must await certain permissions to be granted due to its location in a Scheduled Monument.

Why are there tankers in the area?

The bursts under the river and the A256 are on the same stretch of pressurised pipeline, so in order to work on them the flow had to be removed by turning off the pumping station. To maintain wastewater services to residents of Sandwich and protect the environment tankers do the job of safely removing all wastewater.

What about the A256 works?

Due to the location of the pipe, reaching the pipeline was a complex issue.

 

This section of road sits on a manmade, widened embankment (to protect it from flooding) and the pipe sits 3m under original ground level, and 5m under this embankment – at a total depth of around 8m.

 

In addition to the challenge of depth, the embankment is filled with special geotextile material (geo-grid) and is like a big mesh (describes as being like honeycomb) preventing the embankment from sliding away – which makes it very difficult to access the pipe.

 

We are pleased that at the very end of January we were able to access the pipe with cameras and locate the burst which we have now repaired. However, we have not yet tested the repair or reintroduced flow as the pumping station remains off while we continue separate work at the river burst.

 

Unfortunately whilst undertaking surveys to assess the road’s integrity, a further issue has been identified on a second sewer pipe which takes wastewater flows from the Deal area – the two sewer pipes run in parallel underneath the same section of the road. Additional tankers have been brought in to manage wastewater flows and protect the environment whilst we carry out further repairs. Tanker movements will be most notable at the site of our repairs on the A256 and at Golf Road Wastewater Pumping Station in Deal.

What about the works on the river bank?

Just like the burst at the A256 this one is also in a really difficult location under the river. It was hoped that we could thread a liner through the pipe, which inflates and seals the burst, however this failed due to it being impossible to completely drain the pipe of water with its location under the river causing continued water ingress.

We have identified a new solution which involves drilling under the riverbed and laying a new pipe. This will take longer and requires certain permissions due to its location within a Scheduled Monument. We hope to have permission soon and in the meantime preliminary work is underway so that we can start as soon as permission is granted.

We are also exploring a temporary solution at this site which may mean we can stop the tankers even sooner; we will keep everyone updated on this.

Why have these three incidents happened so close together in timing and location?

While we work quickly to resolve the issues, we are also working to ascertain if there is indeed a connection.The cause of the bursts are not yet known but pipework will be taken away and inspected at a later date. It is Southern Water’s number one priority to provide the best service to customers with minimum impact on them and the environment – so while we understand that you would rather we make quick resolutions, we are committed to improvements.

Where can I find updates and find out more?

For the latest and most up-to-date information please keep an eye on Southern water’s Facebook page and @SouthernWater on twitter – where we have also provided a short film to help explain the situation further.

 
 
 
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