Major works at Beer Wall on the A372 near Othery will start soon, after machinery was mobilised this week and on-site preparations began.
On behalf of Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), the Environment Agency is going to align the Rivers Sowy and Langacre to new culverts installed earlier this year by Somerset County Council.
The alignment is Phase 3 of a series of schemes designed to protect the A372 from large-scale floods and to enable more water to be diverted down the Sowy system. The result will be significant long-term benefits for many communities affected by the floods of winter 2013-14.
The A372 will not need to be closed for these works.
Cllr John Osman, SRA Chair and Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “This major scheme follows on from the improvements we’ve already made in Phases 1 and 2 which protected the A372 from flooding. I’m delighted that we’re now doing even more to protect residents, infrastructure and land in the Parrett and Tone Moors.”
He added: “Improvements for the future will allow more water to pass from the River Parrett into the Sowy, which in turn will help reduce flood flows on the River Parrett and allow the River Tone to discharge more readily.
“Being able to use the Sowy system more flexibly will also mean upstream and downstream pumping stations can be operated earlier, which will benefit many of the communities affected in the winter 2013-14 floods.”
The Phase 3 works are split into two stages. The First Stage starting now (September 2015) will ensure that water can pass through the newly-installed road culverts in the most efficient way if a flood occurs this coming winter. This stage will also include installing concrete piled walls (pictured above), supporting piles and a base slab framework for two tilting weirs to control water levels.
Stage Two will begin in April 2016, if ground conditions allow, and finish in summer 2016. It will include installation of the tilting weirs; completion of new channel excavations; and the formation of a formal bank between the River Sowy spur channel and the re-aligned Langacre Rhyne.
Phase 3 of the Beer Wall project is being funded by the SRA using Growth Deal money from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP). Phases 1 and 2 were funded by the Department for Transport.
More works to enhance the capacity of the wider River Sowy / King’s Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) system will take place after Phase 3 is complete.
A public meeting will be held this winter to let people know more about the wider River Sowy / KSD scheme and future operations.