VIDEO: Horsham’s Worthing Road re-opens

Worthing Road in Horsham has re-opened this afternoon (Thursday January 16), according to West Sussex County Council.

The major artery has been shut for more than a week after severe weather caused a culvert to collapse under the road.

JPCT 160114 S14040043x Worthing Road, Horsham, still closed -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 160114 S14040043x Worthing Road, Horsham, still closed -photo by Steve Cobb

The local authority announced on Twitter: “Update on Worthing Road, Horsham. Expected to re-open by 5pm.”

Metrobus routes 23 and 98 are no longer diverted.

A spokesperson said: “Thank you to all our passengers for their patience whilst this emergency closure was in place.”

The main town route was shut on Monday January 6 as 25 firefighters embarked on an all-night operation to clear two million litres of flood water which had disrupted all rail services in and out of Horsham.

Crews from East and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service pumped water from a field on one side of the road to the other.

The operation was almost complete the following morning when a four metre culvert under the road collapsed. Part of the road between the Sainsbury’s roundabout and the Boar’s Head pub has been closed since and has caused widespread disruption.

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) said the issue has been tackled as a priority and apologised for any inconvenience caused.

It blamed the ‘awkward’ position of the culvert and an issue with daylight for the amount of time it has taken to repair.

A spokesperson said: “The culvert, which is about six metres deep, is in an awkward position that makes it a difficult task to replace.

“The culvert is very old and neither WSCC, nor Horsham District Council, knew it existed before its discovery.”

The emergency repairs have frustrated motorists.

Karen Bidmead wrote to the County Times: “Interesting comments about the road being worked on over the weekend - it annoyed me on Saturday when I was out with my kids - and having to pass there from Christ’s Hospital - that there was no one working on it!

“They also do not start work by the time I go passed with the kids at 8.30am on the school run and no one there by 5pm.

“So they are not working that hard on it. The havoc it is creating around the rest of Horsham is huge and it gets rather annoying when you see how long it is all taking.”

However, the local authority has defended the work being carried out by contractors.

A spokesperson said it is likely members of the public cannot see workers because repairs are taking place below ground level.

“The excavation we are doing to repair the culvert is approximately four metres deep.

“This is possibly why people can’t see us working.

“We have been working from 7am to 5pm each day. Over the weekend we worked 7.30am to 4.30pm.

“Because this work is so deep we can’t really work much longer because light is a major issue.”

The spokesperson added WSCC drafted in a 22 tonne machine over the weekend to sheet pile the excavation.