Plans to help prevent significant flooding in parts of Somerset and improve the county’s roads moved a step closer this week after a key decision.
Proposals totalling more than £20m were rubber-stamped by Cllr Harvey Siggs, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet member for Highways, on Monday (May 12).
The schemes, which are all subject to feasibility studies and further design, will see a road raised near Muchelney to help prevent the village being cut off by flood water again.
Around £4m was earmarked to spend improving the capacity of the River Sowy by raising the A372 and building a culvert to help prevent many homes in Moorland and surrounding areas flooding again.
And a further £12m would be spent on key roads such as the A361 and many other roads around the county to reduce the impact of floods, helping businesses and motorists.
Cllr John Osman, the Leader of Somerset County Council, last month pledged that the projects would be started and finished this year – before further winter floods.
Cllr Siggs said: “This decision means we can continue drawing up detailed plans to make sure this money is being invested in the right areas.
“Our residents, businesses and communities suffered so badly last winter, and this is a big step in the right direction to make sure that they do not suffer in this way again.”
Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan Transport Funding
The Department for Transport has awarded the Council a one-off revenue funding grant of £10m towards delivery of initial elements of the Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan.
Costs will be finalised once feasibility studies and design work for the larger projects are completed later in 2014. It will then be possible to determine a final allocation of the available funds.
An initial commitment of £7.695m will be followed with the remaining £2.305m to be allocated to programmes and projects in due course:
•Up to £1m to clear-up the area and make the roads safe to use following floods. Final allocation to be confirmed once other funding sources for this activity are clarified.
•£75k to put in place permanent signage and gating for traffic diversion routes in the event of future floods.
•£1.6m to rebuild and resurface roads using more flood resilient surfacing where required.
•£270k to undertake feasibility studies for major road improvements. This will enable us to consider in detail the feasibility of raising roads at Muchelney, A361 East Lyng – Burrowbridge, A372 Beer Wall and other locations; consult communities to agree preferred solutions, and prepare scheme designs.
•£750k to raise one road into Muchelney (or other works required to maintain road access to Muchelney that may arise from the feasibility study). The choice of road to raise and the scheme design will be established through the feasibility study.
•£4m for a joint County Council and Environment Agency Scheme at the A372 to raise the road, install sluice gates and enlarge the culvert under the road for the river Sowy. This will stop the road flooding and help reduce the frequency and duration of flooding on the levels and moors.
•The detailed scheme design and cost and confirmation that this is the best solution at this location will be established through the feasibility study.
Severe Weather Recovery Scheme Funding
The Council has been allocated £12,335,841 from the Government’s emergency severe weather recovery scheme fund to help repair local roads damaged by severe weather. This funding comprises £4,526,914 capital and £7,808,927 revenue.
The recommended allocation of this fund to programmes of work is as follows:
•£750k for repairs to bridges and other structures.
•£5.5m for surface dressing.
•£2.4m for resurfacing.
•£1.5m for patching.
•£250k for repairing damaged footways.
•£400k for drainage.
•£1m for a deep clean of the drainage system and verge works to manage water flow.
•£500k to stabilise and reconstruct embankments.
•£35k for repairs to rights of way.