Timing of roadworks in and around Uckfield will be crucial if the town is to avoid traffic chaos.
One major project is under way, a second is planned with a third looming in the background.
East Sussex County Council highways officials told this website they were doing all they can to keep disruption to a minimum.
We can also confirm that major works for the town centre and stretching to Ridgewood will definitely not start before January.
It means they will not disrupt town centre Christmas trade.
What’s happening in detail
A new roundabout is being constructed on the A22 Uckfield by-pass to provide the main access to the Ridgewood Farm development of 1,000 homes.
Works began in August and are expected to take seven months to complete.
Night-time closures (weekdays) are in place until early December with traffic diverted via Uckfield town centre.
The Ridgewood Farm development also needs a new electricity supply.
There were fears this project would begin before Christmas, damaging trade in local shops.
UK Power Networks said it had received a request to provide a new connection to the electricity network in Uckfield.
A spokesperson said: “The work requires a new underground cable between Bell Lane and Lewes Road.
Keeping traffic impact to a minimum
“We continue to work closely with the local authority to programme the work and ensure traffic impact is kept to a minimum for local homes and businesses.
“At this stage we do not expect this work to start before January and we will provide further details about the route and duration of the works nearer the time.”
Time critical works
East Sussex Highways said: “The requirement to provide both a revised road layout on the A22 and installation of a new electricity supply for this development are both paramount and time critical.
“The majority of the works on the A22 are being undertaken utilising a 30 mph speed restriction.
“We have been liaising with UK Power Networks over the timing of the works to provide a new electricity supply to the site, and a start date of January 2021 has been proposed.
“Whilst we are unable to predict the level or volume of emergency works that may have to be undertaken in this area over the coming months, we will do everything we can when planning other work to ensure that disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.”
Chamber of Commerce view
Chris Lawson, president of Uckfield Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the news that the electricity works would not begin until the New Year.
He said: “Christmas will not be disturbed and it will give retailers in the town a chance to make some money.”
He queried why there had not been more communication of the plan.
“Why didn’t they consult more widely and get people’s views?
“It shows a lack of thinking somewhere,” he commented.
More A22 roundabouts works
Waiting in the wings are projects to widen the entrances to the A22 roundabouts at Little Horsted and Copwood.
These works were mandated as part of the granting of planning permission for the Ridgewood Farm development.
The works at the Copwood roundabout (at the junction with Bell Farm Road) must be completed prior to the occupation of the 100th house and the improvements at the Horsted roundabout prior to the occupation of the 450th house.
The developers have not given any notice at this stage to the highways department as to when these works will be carried out.
The highways spokesperson added: “ We would expect a detailed discussion about timings and traffic management to take place with the developer when the project reaches the relevant stages of development.”
National Grid is always planning major works on the outskirts of Uckfield at the junction of Eastbourne Road and the A22 to establish a large sub-stations.