Gas gaffe sees staff in hole lot of bother: Resident blocked in after trench dug in front of driveway

GAS bosses have apologised after workers suddenly dug up a street and left a puzzled resident blocked in.

• Susan Barclaycamehometo findahole blocking her car in. Picture: Esme Allen

Susan Barclay came home to find the mystery hole outside her home on Southhouse Broadway on Wednesday night.

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The work was being carried out by contractors on behalf of utility firm Scotia Gas Networks, which is replacing ageing gas mains in the area.

Ms Barclay said she had been given no indication that any work was to take place and had been left stranded after being unable to reverse her car out of her drive.

The 39-year-old PA said: "There was a big trench in the road, which blocked off the whole driveway. I had no idea what the work was for and it left me absolutely stuck.

"I phoned the council to find out who was responsible and they had no idea."

Scotia Gas Networks said it had failed to install a metal plate outside Ms Barclay's home to maintain access after being told by neighbours that she was on holiday.

A spokesman for the firm said: "We are replacing the gas mains in that area and part of the work does require digging up parts of the road.

"We had been knocking on doors to let people know what we were doing. However, we did not get an answer at this particular house and were told by nearby residents that they were on holiday. We apologise for any inconvenience."

The company said a metal plate had now been installed outside Ms Barclay's house so she could reverse out of the driveway.

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A council spokesman said it was expected that the road would be refilled during the coming days.

Last year the Evening News revealed that motorists in the Capital face disruption as almost 400 miles of gas pipes are replaced – a job that will take 23 years to complete.

Scotia Gas Networks is replacing the ageing gas mains – which stretch the same distance as Edinburgh to London – as part of a UK-wide safety drive.

Around half of Edinburgh's 850-mile network is being dug up after a ruling from the Health and Safety Executive that old iron mains had to be replaced with new plastic pipes.

Recent figures showed that utility firms were hit with more than 500 fines for delays to work on Edinburgh's roads in just eight months.

Council chiefs brought in the 120 penalties in 2008 as part of a range of measures to bring companies to book for failing to get projects finished on time.