Old Thanet Way water workmen 'verbally abused by drivers'

Workers laying a water main in Kent are being subjected to verbal abuse from drivers trying to force their way through barriers closing the road.

South East Water said drivers ignoring the signs in Old Thanet Way, near Whitstable, were also putting themselves and the workforce in danger.

Spokesman Steve Andrews said: "People are verbally abusing the workers and that is not acceptable."

Resident Gerry Atkin said the five-mile diversion was causing the problem.

He said Chestfield was a residential area and it would have been better to close one side of the road at a time so access and exit was possible.

The £370,000 pipeline replacement got under way earlier this year. The road has been closed at the junction with Chestfield Road from 6 August to 24 August.

'Moving barriers'

Mr Andrews said: "It is an old pipe that we are replacing which has suffered a number of leaks and bursts over the years.

"The vast majority of our customers have been really co-operative but we have been disappointed that a small minority have tried to get through and that is very dangerous.

"They are moving the cones and the barriers to try and get through.

"This is a construction area. It is sectioned off to make it safe."

Neil Greig, from the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said it had heard of many similar incidents.

"We have found this the length and breadth of Britain - people shouting at workmen," he said.

"There is a minority of people out there who seem to think that it's the workmen's fault they are being held up and want to take it out on them."

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