A CITY councillor is urging staff to work longer hours to finish gas works which are causing lengthy delays for drivers on Botley Road.

A £9m upgrade to the route is being planned by the county council.

But any improvements will not be fully realised until the SGN work, which started at the end of July, is finished.

The company said yesterday it hoped to complete the installation of new pipe work by Friday, November 15.

READ AGAIN: £9m Botley Road scheme starts at wrong end, says councillor

Labour city and county councillor Susanna Pressel is urging the company to instruct its staff to 'work faster' - longer hours.

Oxford Mail:

She said: “Residents in that area are having a really bad time because of the work that Southern Gas is doing to the gas mains. If they have to drive, they are constantly stuck in traffic jams, the air quality is terrible, it is often difficult to walk across the road, cycling has become more hazardous and some of their bus stops have been suspended for months.”

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Ms Pressel said SGN has been instructed to work seven days a week between 7am and 5.30pm hours, whenever possible.

She added some residents have noticed that workers ‘very often seem to finish work around lunchtime and they very rarely work at weekends'

She said: "We are far from being satisfied that they are working as fast as they could.”

The councillor for Jericho and Osney is urging council leaders to meet the CEO of SGN at the earliest opportunity.

Oxford Mail:

Yvonne Constance, the council’s cabinet member for environment told Ms Pressel in an email: “SGN have programmed the work to be completed prior to our own remodelling scheme, which is provisionally scheduled for March 2020.

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“There is no doubt that the work has been disruptive to residents and the travelling public and both the county council and SGN have worked hard to mitigate these problems at every opportunity and respond to the needs of the community when issues have been identified.

Oxford Mail:

“The work has required permanent traffic lights to be turned off when they are in conflict with the temporary lights and lanes have had to be coned off to allow the pipes to be replaced.”

She added that the alternative to the existing method of working was to allow for a complete closure of parts of Botley Road.

Oxford Mail:

Ms Constance said: “SGN were asked to extend their working day to help complete the scheme early.

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“We did make it clear to SGN that we required the work to be completed and for them to be off site by December 4, 2019 in time for the Christmas Embargo (on roadworks), and they have undertaken to do so.”

SGN spokesman Waseem Hanif said staff were working seven days a week, 7am to 7pm, and hoped to finish by November 15.