Monday, 30 November 2020

Raising road could cost £10m

RAISING a flood-prone road by about a foot could cost between £5million and £10 million.

RAISING a flood-prone road by about a foot could cost between £5million and £10 million.

The estimate was given by David Bullock, highways and transport asset manager at Oxfordshire County Council, at a meeting to discuss the problem of the B478 Playhatch Road in Sonning.

The road was closed for six weeks early last year due to flooding from the Thames and damage to the road surface, causing disruption on surrounding roads at peak times.

In the autumn the council carried out repairs which caused further disruption and delays for rush-hour drivers trying to cross Sonning Bridge.

Mr Bullock told a meeting of Eye and Dunsden Parish Council last week that raising the road would reduce the risk of it flooding again from once in five years to once in 20 years.

It would also mean that a stretch of only 200m of road would flood and that the water would dissipate “relatively quickly” so the road could re-open sooner.

A large number of culverts would be created as part of the work.

Only a handful of people attended the meeting, despite widespread concern from the community at the time of last year’s floods.

A site investigation and flood modelling have been carried out but the Government turned down the council’s application for  £4.2 million to do the work.

Mr Bullock said the council had to build a business case to demonstrate the economic benefits.

He said: “When this road is shut people have to travel an awful long way. That costs money and discourages people from setting up businesses in the area and from living in this area.

“We need to have a lot more discussion with the Environment Agency and undertake more detailed flooding modelling. We know that this road isn’t resilient and we know it’s a strategic link across the Thames.”

He said the county council would seek funding from the Department for Transport’s Challenge Fund in 2017/2018 but needed the parish council’s support.

Mr Bullock said: “If the status quo is maintained then the road will flood a lot more frequently. It’s a safety issue — if that road floods very quickly we’re putting people’s lives at risk.”

He said an outline proposal would be put together by the end of April.

County councillor David Bartholomew said he had been lobbied by people who wanted the road raised and other who were opposed to this, saying flood waters could be diverted to their homes.

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