URGENT repairs to a collapsed sewer which is threatening the stability of a city centre road is set to cause misery for drivers and shoppers.
Businesses, deliveries, commuters and public transport users are all set to be hit by the disruption after CCTV cameras revealed a huge void under a section of road.
Sunderland City Council is warning people to expect delays and disruption as repairs begin in Union Street from Sunday, September 15.
Union Street, on the west side of Central Station, and the easternmost part of South Street will be closed to all traffic for the duration of the works.
It is hoped the repairs will be complete within 10 days, subject to weather, ground conditions and further investigatory works.
Problems arose after the collapse of the sewer.
Mike Madine, Northumbrian Water’s sewerage manager, said: “Following investigations using CCTV cameras, we discovered the sewer under Union Street had collapsed, causing a large void which, in turn, has caused severe subsidence and structural failure to the road. Our approved contractor, Lumsden and Carroll, will start repairs to the sewer on Sunday, September 15, and will be working 12-hour day shifts to minimise disruption as much as possible.”
Because of the closure, limited service access for stores will be maintained via High Street West, allowing delivery and permitted access to Prince Street, South Street, Charman Street, Middle Street and King Street.
Councillor James Blackburn, from Sunderland City Council, said: “Northumbrian Water needs to carry out urgent sewer repairs. This is why the council is making this emergency order.
“The nature of the works means all parking and the full taxi rank on Union Street has to be suspended.
“We would request that all affected business premises notify their suppliers of the temporary arrangements as soon as possible.
“Yes, there’s going to be some short-term disruption because of these urgent repairs. It is hoped with the co-operation and goodwill of traders, residents and all visitors to the city centre, we can keep this to a minimum.”
The council will be contacting residents and businesses next week to help raise awareness.
High Street West will be closed from its junction with Station Street/Back Bridge Street. Access will be strictly controlled, and all other traffic will be directed down Station Street and back to Fawcett Street.
Fencing is going up along part of High Street West to separate pedestrians and vehicles from the Bridges and High Street service areas.
The one way system on Prince Street/Middle Street, is being reversed and disabled parking on these streets is being suspended for the duration of the works.