SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Enhanced maintenance of highways and structures

Gully emptying

Somerset County Council’s Highways Department empties gullies in areas most susceptible to flooding once a year. The SRA funded an additional six-month round for 14,221 of the highest-risk gullies countywide; far too many to list individually! The aim is to keep roads open, make them safer, preserve access for communities, and safeguard properties from flooding.

Drain jetting

185 places benefitted in 2019-20:

  • 47 in Mendip
  • 61 in Sedgemoor
  • 62 in Somerset West and Taunton
  • 15 in South Somerset

Under existing budgets, Somerset County Council’s Highways Department can only afford to jet drains when a bad blockage has occurred. SRA funding allows for earlier preventative maintenance at locations known to suffer problems with flooding, because they feature on annual gully-emptying rounds. Final selections are made using local knowledge and professional judgement.

De-silting of structures

Works were carried out in 2019-20 at 12 locations.


Higher Alham, between Batcombe and Cranmore, River Alham

Higher Alham during de-silting. Note the waist-high wall of solid mud being dug out.

Oldford, Selwood parish, between Frome and Beckington, River Mells.

Oldford before de-silting.
Oldford after de-silting.

South Somerset

Cockhill South, Cockhill near Castle Cary, River Cary, SRA funded part of larger refurbishment scheme.

A359 Lambrook New, Lambrook, near Marston Magna, Hornsey Brook, River Yeo.

Somerset West and Taunton

Claremont Drive (between Galmington Drive and Essex Drive) and New Barn Park, Queensway, Comeytrowe, Taunton, both on the Galmington Stream.

Bonniton Cross, A396 west of Dunster, River Avill.

B3224 bridge, Exford– in front of the Exmoor White Horse Inn, vegetation removed from the River Exe by hand from gravel bars.

Rill, Parsonage Lane, Kingston St Mary parish.

Stoke Road, Stoke St Mary, River Tone catchment.

Vokers, Gerbestone Lane near M5 J26, West Buckland parish, River Tone catchment.

Culvert inspections and remedial works in Internal Drainage Board (IDB) areas

The main aims of this project are to improve the conveyance of water and to help prevent disruption to residents and road users.

In 2019-20, designs for the replacement of two culverts were prepared, one at Puriton Road in West Huntspill, the other at Northwick Road in Mark.

These works were about to go out to tender in late March 2020, when coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced.

Both schemes are now expected to happen in autumn 2020, workers’ safety permitting.

Both schemes will involve temporary road closures.

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