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Flood-hit road to be fixed, not raised
Published 02/06/14

THE road between Sonning and Playhatch will be repaired “as soon as possible”.

But the B478 will only be returned to the state it was in before flooding caused it to collapse.

Henley’s county councillor David Nimmo Smith had hoped to raise a section of the road at the same time so it does not have to close when the Thames bursts its banks in future.

But the county council has so far been unable to convince the Environment Agency to approve the project.

Cllr Nimmo Smith said: “The work to date has revealed that more complex investigations and modelling work are needed before the implications can be fully evaluated.”

Cllr Nimmo Smith said the agency is worried about possible implications the work could have on displacing the water to nearby properties in Sonning or downstream to Shiplake.

He said: “It has therefore been decided to reconstruct the road to its original state to remove the temporary traffic lights and allow traffic to flow freely in the meantime, but with sufficient flexibility for further improvements if this can be agreed.

“Engineers plan to reinstate the washed-away embankment to its existing shape and height and add additional edge scour protection. Resurfacing and reconstruction of the road will also take place.”

He said a start date is yet to be decided but the aim is to do it over the summer and autumn, for completion by the end of October.

“Work will begin to repair the flood-damaged Playhatch Road as soon as possible,” Cllr Nimmo Smith said.

“I fully understand the frustration local people and commuters have experienced while the road has been restricted.

“That is why we have decided to press on and get the road returned to how it was before the floods so that people can use it as they did before.”

Cllr Nimmo Smith says he is still hopeful of reaching an agreement to raise a section of the road next year to prevent the type of flooding which caused it to close for almost four weeks at the start of the year.

The county council has applied for £950,000 funding for the project from Government but it is still waiting to see if it has been successful.

Cllr Nimmo Smith said: “I really hope that we will be able to do some substantial work on the road, which may include raising it to protect it completely from floods, in the future.”

He added: “However that needs to be done carefully and only once everyone is certain that it can be done without causing flood related problems in other areas.”

What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk.

Published 02/06/14

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