By Jennifer Morris & Jenny Stanton reblogged from Get Surrey
September 27, 2012
A CAR fell into a gaping hole in the ground when a burst water main caused a Chertsey roundabout to cave in.
The silver BMW crashed into the hole on the A320 Guildford Road on Thursday morning. The road has been closed from the A317 St Peter’s Way junction to Sir William Perkins’s School.
Water supplies to homes, businesses and schools around Chertsey and Woking were also affected.
A spokesman for Veolia Water confirmed there had been a burst main and said engineers were on site to carry out repairs.
The car was removed from the hole by a recovery vehicle at around 11.15am.
Teams from the water company, Surrey Police and Runnymede Borough Council were at the scene, as well as a Surrey County Council officer assessing the road.
The incident happened just before 5.45am, and Inspector Rhys Bonds said: “Police attended and found a BMW embedded in the roundabout. A man had managed to get out of the vehicle safely.
“Police then cordoned off the road and set up closures at five locations. Our priority is the safety of the general public.
“Further to that, water spread along Guildford Road and along Green Lane causing damage to one house in particular which is being assessed by a structural engineer.”
An eyewitness at the scene said: “I was here just after it happened at about 6am and I think the car’s sunk deeper in because earlier it was just the front.
“I’m not surprised the ground is undermined, it floods every year. It should have been sorted out by now.”
Bystander Mondo Santiago, who lives in Frithwald Road, said: “A lot of people have been left stranded and have had to leave their cars all over the place to get to work, like my girlfriend.”
Salesian School – which is situated within the road closures – was shut to pupils, although sixth form lessons were continuing as normal, and Horsell Village School and Maybury Primary School in Woking were also closed.
A message on the Veolia Water website informed people in Chertsey, the KT16, KT15, GU21 and GU25 postcodes and the surrounding areas that the incident would affect their water supplies.
The main was isolated and shut down, and the company reported at around midday that they had “managed to bring back water to all properties that were affected”.
The website update added: “Unfortunately we do not have a timescale for the burst to be repaired and the road to be open.”
Further complications were added when another burst happened in Green Lane around Thursday lunchtime, also affecting supplies to properties in Bretland Road and Lyndhurst Way.
Commenting on Twitter on Thursday morning, Woking resident Phil Price, who lives in Russell Road, said: “There’s not enough pressure to run our boiler, so cold showers for us and cooled boiled water for daughter’s bath this morning.
“Hassle we don’t really need, and worry how long it’s going to go on.”
A spokesman for Veolia Water said: “We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by a burst 15-inch water main on Guildford Road, Chertsey, this morning.
“The burst water main led to structural damage of the road and a BMW vehicle fell into a hole which appeared on the collapsed road.
“We understand that there were no injuries and the police have taken a statement from the driver.
“Our engineers are on site to carry out the repair as soon as it is possible to do so.
“We are working with police and the local highways authority to manage road closures and diversions will be in place.
“We do realise that this [happened at] a very busy time of the morning and would like to thank customers for their patience while we carry out this work.”
No cold water
A spokesman for St Peter’s Hospital said: “Due to the traffic congestion it has taken some staff longer to get to work than usual but the hospital is operating as normal this morning.”
The White Lodge Centre for disabled children, young people and adults, based in Holloway Hill, was unable to open on Thursday.
A spokeswoman said: “Most staff have managed to make it in, albeit a little later than usual due to the traffic. Due to the real potential for having no water later on during the day, we felt it was the best decision to close the service. We are obviously hoping that it will be business as usual tomorrow.”
There was no cold water at the Woking Borough Council Civic Offices in Gloucester Square, and New Vision Homes, which runs council housing in Woking, was checking on vulnerable tenants.
Runnymede Borough Council had to put out extra signage for a polling station near the accident scene, at Meadowcroft School, set up for the Chertsey Meads ward by-election on Thursday.
Veolia Water said the pipe that burst on Thursday morning was separate from the one involved in the October 2011 incident.