The A32 through Farringdon should be open again by September 20 – but it will be shut once more next spring.
Unforeseen circumstances have forced Hampshire County Council to postpone the finishing touches of its flood prevention scheme – but Cllr Jan Warwick, the executive member for climate change and sustainability, said the work was “largely complete”.
It began on June 27 and under the original schedule should have continued until October 10.
Cllr Nick Adams-King, the executive member for highways operations, said: “While I’m sure that residents and businesses will welcome news that the road will be opening sooner than expected, I also understand that the prospect of the road needing to close again for a few weeks next year, so that outstanding work can be completed, will be frustrating.
“However, I know that in their planning our engineers are doing all they can to keep disruption to a minimum and ensure this section of the A32 is closed for no longer than is absolutely necessary – taking care to avoid school holidays as far as possible and maintaining access for residents and businesses throughout.”
Among the businesses affected was the Golden Pheasant pub. Owners David and Melanie Scholes lowered the asking price for the lease to £95,000 at the height of the closure misery.
As well as looking forward to the return of passing trade on the A32, they have avoided the nightmare of rising energy costs. David said: “Fortunately we’re on a fixed price!”
This second phase of work to prevent flooding was done in two sections, between the village crossroads and north to Boundary House, and subsequently between Farringdon Industrial Centre and north to the village crossroads.
The aim of the scheme is to reduce the risk of flooding from a combination of surface water and ground water. The £1.18 million project is being funded from the council’s flood risk and coastal defence programme budget, a Defra flood defence grant in aid, and the Thames regional flood and coastal committee local levy.
An initial package of flood prevention measures for Lower Farringdon and Chawton was undertaken between 2018 and 2020 at a cost of more than £350,000. This first phase package involved ground works connecting ditches, drains and soakaways.