Underground pipes to combat Harborough flooding

A pipe similar to one which will be installed in Harborough
A pipe similar to one which will be installed in Harborough

For Christmas shoppers in Market Harborough this year, here’s a surprising fact.

As you walk across The Square in town in December, six metres below your feet will be a drilling machine – and the man operating it.

He will be digging a tunnel for a pipe 1.2m in diameter as the first part of Anglian Water’s £1.5m flood alleviation scheme for the Coventry Road area of town.

Anglian Water contract manager Rod Young said: “You won’t be able to see anything, and you probably won’t hear or feel anything either.

“But there’ll be a drill bit tunnelling underneath The Square, with the driver sat towards the front of it.”

Work will start in mid-October in the corner of the Commons Car Park near Tesco, where a large pit will dug and a manned tunnelling machine brought in to install the large pipe.

Work re-starts after a Christmas break to finish the tunnel from the river to the junction of The Square and Coventry Road, and join it to a smaller tunnel along Coventry Road, drilled by an un-manned machine.

From early January, Coventry Road will be closed between High Street and Commons Car Park entrance as work continues.

Footpaths remain open.

Antony Innes, of Anglian Water, explained: “The work will see 230 metres of new larger surface water sewer installed to help take rain water and run-off away from the road and into the River Welland.”

Businesses seemed resigned to the work, when asked by the Mail during a four-hour Anglian Water drop-in session at Enigma in Coventry Road on Tuesday.

Aisha Sidat, of Moin’s Chemists in Coventry Road, said: “Obviously it will affect us, especially when there’s no passing traffic.”