VILLAGERS are bracing themselves for 15 months of roadworks as a £4.3m flood prevention project begins.
Mildren Construction has been appointed by Hampshire County Council to build a huge water pipe beneath West Street and East Street in Hambledon.
The pipe, to be started at the end of next month, will collect groundwater from the hills and will drastically reduce the chances of a repeat of last year’s major flood.
The plans went on show in Hambledon Village Hall yesterday and hundreds of people went to see them.
Parts of West Street and East Street will be closed in sections while the underground pipe is built.
A diversion route for traffic will be set up around the village via Green Lane and Brook Lane.
Villagers have been told to expect disruption.
Pedestrians will be able to get into the village at all times, but sometimes cars and other vehicles will face restrictions.
Chris Dixon, of High Street, Hambledon, said: ‘The major hurdle is going to be the parking. It’s going to be interesting but it’s “take the pain now” to prevent more years of potential flooding.’
Anne Hatfield, of West Street, Hambledon, said: ‘We need more explanation of how you get people to businesses and shops.
‘People come into the village and see “road closed” and go away.’
But she added: ‘It’s got to be done.
‘I have lived through three floods. I haven’t had any problems myself, except being closed in for three months.’
Contractors will be working from 7.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Officials at the engineering firm have said they want to help make sure Hambledon remains open for business as usual during the work and minimise the impact of dust, noise and vibration.
Portsmouth Water will also be updating its pipes through Hambledon and water supplies may be interrupted at times.
James King, from Hambledon Flood Action Group, said: ‘I feel as long as we know what to expect and when to expect it, then we can work around it.’
The pipe will be about a mile long and vary from 90cm to 1.2m in diameter.