ESSENTIAL maintenance to the Bruce Street Bridges is hitting motorists as work shifts around the pivotal roundabouts.

Congestion around Great Western Way and Akers Way has been backing up as Thames Water and Scottish and Southern Electricity continue improvements ahead of a full revamp from the council’s highways team.

Thames Water began work on Cheney Manor Road yesterday, closing the southbound route.

Peter Watts (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney), said disruptions could continue for 12 months.

“They are having to do the work in stages,” he said. “This is a programmed scheme for the next year. “At the moment they have electricity cables going in and Thames Water following putting in drainage relief for Rodbourne Cheney to try to bring down the flooding.

“Once that is finished the council will be coming in to reconfigure the roundabout.”

Bruce Street Bridges suffered from flooding during the recent downpours.

“For years the area has been suffering with surface water flooding,” said Coun Watts.

“They are going to put relief tanks in to try and solve that problem. There have also been problems with drainage all around Rodbourne Cheney because there is not enough capacity, so they are upgrading the sewers, as well as installing a pumping station.

“The problem is that this is the thoroughfare for Great Western Way, the through route across Swindon. “There is no other option, if we are going to cure the flooding problems it has to be done.

A spokesman for Thames Water said: “The latest phase of the Thames Water project will involve two new sewers being laid under the road to help reduce the risk of waste water flooding in the area.

“The work to the sewer system is vital to increase capacity in the network and reduce the risk of flooding for 15 properties.

Work to lay a new sewer behind properties in Rodbourne Road, along Iris Redman Gardens, finished last Saturday, re-opening a lane in the road that has been closed to allow parking for residents.

Lawrence Adams, Thames Water’s contracts manager, said: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience this essential work causes drivers.

“We’d like to thank residents for their patience during this part of the work, as they have been unable to use the garages behind their homes.

“We’re also very grateful to the BSS House business centre, who kindly made some of their parking spaces available to help.

“In lieu of payment for this, we are making a £500 donation to Prospect Hospice.”

A spokesman for Scottish and Southern Electricity said: “The work is a new underground supply which will increase supply. The work is due to be completed by the end of March. A Swindon Council spokesman said: “The council is planning to start a one year-long £8m scheme in June which will improve drainage in the area, and improve traffic flow and reduce queuing. “Before it starts there will be a drop-in information session for residents.

“The work will involve changing the Bruce Street Bridges junction to a single roundabout with peak-time traffic signals, a new traffic signal junction at Newcome Drive, and new independent drainage alongside the existing Thames Water system to reduce the risk of flooding.”