CALLS have again been made for a permanent solution to road closures when flooding pumps are deployed after further traffic chaos in Malton and Norton.
Church Street in Norton was again partially closed at the weekend as river levels rose, forcing traffic to use St Nicholas Street.
Tony Boorman, Director of Tyke 2000 Ltd, said although Yorkshire Water had spent thousands placing a pipe under Church Street to avoid the road being closed, the pumps were emerging up onto the footpath forcing Highways to close it.
He said: " We are now into the 14th week since Church Street was first closed this season for flood reasons. 14 weeks ago I was in contact with Yorkshire Water and Highways to find a solution to the disruption being caused by the road closure and diversions. I suggested that if pedestrians cant be trusted to comply to the "footpath closed" signs then a ramp over the pipes on the footpath would avoid the road needing to be used instead.
" And here we are again, 14 weeks later, after so much talk, in exactly the same position.
"What is really required is a long term solution. This has been on the books with the multiple agencies since 2012. But still nothing has been done. In the meantime, in a street behind my business, Residents have to pump raw sewage away from their homes every time the river rises. Criminal."
Di Keal, Mayor of Norton on Derwent, said: "Once again businesses in Norton are suffering because Yorkshire Water has partially closed Church Street. Over the weekend the road was closed and traffic diverted some 16 hours before the pump was deployed, which is totally unacceptable. It seems Yorkshire Water is working to its own timetable of convenience rather than considering the impact on local people and businesses.
"At a recent Norton town council meeting with Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency and North Yorkshire Council a commitment was made to look at alternatives to this road closure, including the use of ramps, and I would urge North Yorkshire Highways to look at this urgently for the sake of our community.
" Pedestrian safety has been stated as the reason for the closure/one way system, but in reality this has been made more dangerous as the diversion down St Nicholas Street leads to this road become gridlocked at rush hour and some motorists driving at unacceptable speeds at other times of the day.
"I have witnessed some appalling driving including speeds of over 60mph on a residential street and vehicles mounting the pavements to push their way through, leaving pedestrians having to leap out of the way for their own safety. Despite requests to North Yorkshire Highways no temporary speed restriction signs have been installed- it is amazing how quickly a diversion is put in place but it apparently takes much longer for speed limit signs to appear!
"And again - none of these road closures and disruption would be necessary if the bodies responsible for flood alleviation put a permanent solution to the sewer flooding in place. They again agreed to work together to look at solutions when they met with Norton town council recently - but this has be said so many times before - what we need now is some urgent action."
A joint statement from Yorkshire Water and North Yorkshire Council said: “We’re really sorry for any inconvenience experienced by the residents and commuters on Church Street.
“We know that the road closure has been disruptive, but it was necessary for the safety of our colleagues who were deploying pumps as part of our multi-agency flood plan to protect homes and businesses from the rising river levels.
“The road will continue to be partially closed until we can deactivate our multi-agency flood plan. We are close to a solution which will allow the footway to remain open, and Church Street can be reopened to two-way traffic.
Rest assured, we are monitoring the situation daily, and once the river levels drop below the agreed trigger point, we will promptly remove the pumps to so our customers can get back into their daily routine. We will update the public as soon as possible.”