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Severe weather warning remains in place for Ironbridge as river levels drop

By Rory Smith | Bridgnorth | Environment | Published: | Last Updated:

As river levels throughout Shropshire begin to drop, a severe weather warning remains in place for Ironbridge, where flood barriers have shifted further overnight.

Flood barriers in Ironbridge moved further overnight

The Severn peaked in the Gorge at 6.79 metres at 9am yesterday and warnings are in place that floodwater along the Wharfage could get as deep as 1.8m.

In Bridgnorth, the river hit 5.2m midday yesterday and in Shrewsbury, the 'danger to life' warning has been removed following the river peaking at 5.12m.

The Environment Agency warns flooding may continue until Sunday, with West Mercia Police predicting disruption could last another 10 days, as further rain is expected this week.

Environment Secretary George Eustice was visiting Ironbridge and Shrewsbury today after a planned visit by Floods Minister Rebecca Pow was called off because of illness.

As roads slowly reopen, the flood barriers in Ironbridge have been deemed ineffective after they were breached yesterday and moved further overnight.

Coalport Bridge and the Lloyds were reopened this afternoon. Waterloo Street, the Free Bridge and Madeley Road are also open.

It took a multi-agency effort to ensure pumps along the Wharfage were refuelled and continued to operate yesterday as dozens of people were evacuated from there homes.

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The few that remained in their homes were asked to sign a waiver detailing they understood possible risks.

Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies said repairs to flood barriers in the Gorge will be attempted as the river continues to drop over the next couple of days.

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As a result of the flooding, Shropshire Council said up to 30 bridges across the county, including Coalport Bridge which suffered brickwork damage and currently has temporary traffic lights, will need to be assessed.

The authority said: "We've inspected Coalport Bridge and it's currently safe to use.

"We've installed traffic management with a three tonne weight limit as a precautionary measure.

"We'll make daily inspections while we wait for water levels to reduce sufficiently to carry out a more detailed survey."

West Mercia Police Chief Superintendent Tom Harding warned that further rain this week could see river levels rising again.

See the latest weather forecast:

Thursday morning forecast 27/02/20

"We are expecting some further significant rains on Friday in the welsh hills where we will see that into Ironbridge from Sunday night on Monday and Tuesday," he said.

"We are planning to have a lot of resources available to help the local community."

Nathan Hudson, Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer for the West Midlands, said: "We will be here making sure we are responsive to the needs of patients in the local area. Across the whole of West Mercia we have been devastated by the three major incidents. But we will be here working with our partners to help patients."

Si Hardiman, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Shropshire said: "We will continue to maintain a presence in Ironbridge and rest of the county. We are also undertaking pre-planning for further events. We will continue with our reassurance and public confidence visits."

Angie Astley executive director of Telford & Wrekin Council, added:"We've been here for two weeks already and we will remain here until we need not, helping residents affected by the floods and providing free hotel accommodation for anyone evacuated.

"Our rest centre is open at Tontine Hotel. We will be making sure we communicate and send letters to people who maybe aren't on social media about the support in coming weeks."

Waterloo Street in Ironbridge is now open, meaning access to Broseley from the Gorge is possible.

Telford & Wrekin Council said it will also be reopening Madeley Road to relieve pressures on Coalport Bridge.

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In Shrewsbury, most of the road closures remain in place, but Shropshire Council has opened the English Bridge and part of Abbey Foregate car park.

The authority said the Gateway on Chester Street is to remain closed until Monday and Town Walls will be shut while Cadent investigate and repair a gas leak. The road is now due to reopen on Saturday, with other town centre roads set to be reopened today.

In Bridgnorth, a flood warning remains in place as Riverside, Doctor's Lane and the A442 from Bandon Arms island to Sutton Maddock are closed.

People are being urged to avoid floodwater and expect levels to remain high as more rain is forecast over the next 48 hours.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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