Southern Water have insisted they intend to complete repair works to a major sewer pipe at Appley ‘well before’ October – the date that the road closure is set to expire.

Work to repair a 1-metre wide pipe that carries all of Ryde’s wastewater is underway, but the situation is described as complex and it isn’t going to be a quick fix. In fact, more than 2 months after a sinkhole appeared on the Appley to Puckpool footpath, repair work is yet to begin. Accessing all the parts of the pipe required for survey works is described as being ‘tricky and multi-faceted’.

The sinkhole that appeared towards the end of January has now been filled in to stabilise the area and protect it from further effects of weather, but repair work is yet to take place. Southern Water says that the temporary fill has now taken place following a survey of the immediate area and the successful diversion of sewage.

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It has been confirmed that wastewater has been completely stopped from flowing through the collapsed part of the pipe and is now being diverted overland via the temporary pumping network located along the sea wall. Further survey work is underway at multiple other locations to inform the final repair design involving multiple agencies and specialist contractors.

Although North Walk has re-opened to traffic, access to Appley Car Park remains closed with official notices stating the traffic closure is until 22nd October 2021. This has prompted fears about how this will affect the tourism trade in the area as the country unlocks and the Island is set to be inundated with visitors.

Southern Water says that they’ve considered a ‘worse case scenario’ when applying for the Temporary Traffic Regulation Order as they would rather apply for longer and require less time than extending an existing application.

The utility company says it is aware that the location is in a popular beach area for locals and tourists alike and have put in place the team and resources to ensure the work is progressed as quickly as possible. They hope to be completed well before October and will do everything in their power to be away from the area as soon as possible.

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Tim Olliffee, Southern Water Engineering and Construction Project Manager, says:

“We are very sorry for the ongoing disruption caused by repairs to a collapsed sewer at Appley Beach. This is a very complex job and unfortunately not one that will be fixed in the next few weeks. We are committed to being away from the area as quickly as possible; we know this is a popular location for locals and visitors.

“Some people may have seen that Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders applied for state we will close roads and access in the area until 22 October – please note we do not know a timeframe and we are dedicated to completing work sooner. As soon as we have completed required surveys and finalised the details of the final repair, we will be able to give a more accurate timescale. We also plan to reopen the area in phases allowing us to return public access to people as soon as is possible.

“Any closure involving public access is something we try to avoid and extended closures are only done when there is no other choice. We are working closely with local businesses, the life boat station team and others affected to minimise impact; and thank everyone for their patience and understanding.”

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