A main road in the centre of Market Harborough is closing for up to 12 weeks, and is likely to cause major traffic problems.
The temporary closure of a section of Coventry Road has been approved by Leicestershire County Council to allow Anglian Water to work on its £1.5m flood alleviation project for the town.
Coventry Road between High Street and the entrance to the Commons car park will be shut from 7am this Monday, January 5, for up to 12 weeks.
Drivers will still be able to get into the Tesco/Co-op car park.
Traders in Coventry Road seem resigned to the work.
One business manager, Jill Foxon, of the Cancer Research UK charity shop, said: “We’ve been flooded 13 times in the 18 years I’ve been here. If it stops the flooding, it’s all worth it.”
During the road closure, the diversion route will be via Northampton Road, Welland Park Road, Farndon Road, Coventry Road and vice versa.
Anglian Water will be constructing a new drainage sewer beneath Coventry Road, to help prevent flooding.
The Coventry Road drain will then link with a larger, new drain being constructed six metres below The Square.
Project manager Greg Reddy said: “When it’s all working, the outflow pipe will be able to discharge 500 litres of water per second into the River Welland.”
Altogether, the work will result in 230 metres of new, larger drains.
Businesses along Coventry Road seem reconciled to the work and emphasised that pedestrians can still walk down the street and it will be business as usual.
Jill Foxon added: “It will affect us when the road is closed.
“We lose stock, because people find it more difficult to deliver to us, so takings do go down.
“But if it stops the flooding, it’s worth it.”
At Brides of Market Harborough, manager Emma McGuinness agreed: “We will be missing the passing trade, because we rely on the windows a bit to attract trade.
“But – yes – it’s worth it, if there’s no more flooding.”
Work on the scheme started in October.
A huge drill pit was dug at the corner of the Commons car park, near the town centre Tesco store.
It continues with a 1.2-metre tunnel being dug by a manned drill machine underneath The Square, going to the corner with Coventry Road, by Wesses bakery.
The new Coventry Road drain will then meet the drain under The Square to complete the project.