by Alan Smith
Works to replace old gas mains in Maidstone town centre have hit a “serious setback”.
In the same week police and businesses praised Southern Gas Networks for the minimal disruption caused by the first stage of the works, the company said it would have to re-think stage two.
Project manager John Adsley said: “We have hit a problem.”
The next stage should have seen the company crossing Lower Stone Street from Knightrider Street to Mote Road by digging a tunnel underneath the carriageway.
But the ground at the depth required to avoid sewers under the road has been found to be too unstable for tunnelling.
Mr Adsley said: “It is neither practical nor safe to tunnel without very time-consuming and expensive measures to stabilise the excavation.”
Instead the company plans to insert a new gas main inside the old one, which could mean reducing Lower Stone Street to one lane from the junction with Romney Place and closing the junction with Mote Road.
The lane closures could be introduced in as little as a week’s time, and will last for about two weeks. Mr Adsley said: “We will put out warning signs to give local traffic the opportunity to find another route.”