Road surface and barrier improvements in Ironbridge to help alleviate floods

Road surface work is being carried out to make Ironbridge more resilient to flooding, after the devastation caused by heavy rains in recent years.

Flood barriers in Ironbridge
Flood barriers in Ironbridge

Telford & Wrekin Council's flood management team said they are undertaking new work this month to the town's roads to help improve flood defences in Ironbridge.

After a review of the issues faced after the February 2020 floods, the council is hoping to make the World Heritage Site more resilient by making improvements to the town's flood defences.

Work is due to start on January 18 to resurface the roads and hopefully improve the condition of the existing surface for the flood defence barrier.

Recent improvements to the method of deployment were tested before Christmas when the Environment Agency erected the flood defence due to the high river levels. The barriers were taken down on December 29, once it was safe to do so.

To further reduce the risk of flooding from the River Severn, work to the road surface by Telford & Wrekin Council will aim to improve the ground conditions for the temporary flood barrier that is deployed in the event of flooding, and ensure it does not move.

The work is due to start on January 18, unless adverse weather dictates otherwise. Road closures will be in place until the work is due for completion on February 7.

Adam Lines, Area Environment Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “While the temporary flood barriers at Ironbridge continued to be operational and properties were defended in the February floods, we have reviewed and improved their method of deployment, which we adopted in the erection of the barriers in December.

“These measures include the way we put the barriers in place to allow for a wider waterproof membrane to the front of the barriers, which increases protection. We have also reviewed how we can make them even better secured, particularly around trees; and how the road can be adapted to reduce the chance of movement of the barrier.

“Changes have also been made to the deployment plan that the Environment Agency and Telford &Wrekin Council follow in putting the barrier in place and we will increase the time needed to fully install the barrier to allow for the additional work.”

Councillor David Wright, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for flood management said: “Since the floods last winter, we have done a lot of work with the Environment Agency to produce this bespoke and innovative road design specifically for Ironbridge. Many surveys were done by both our organisations, leading to 3D designs and investigative work on how we can minimise the risk of the flood barriers being moved again by force of a flooded River Severn. It led to identifying new ways for the Environment Agency to put the barriers in place, especially around trees.

“The Wharfage will be resurfaced by Telford & Wrekin Council’s highways contractor Balfour Beatty with a new material to improve friction. When laid, the new road surface will be designed flatter and slightly sloping towards the river to further reduce the risk of any slippage by the barriers.

“We are now turning those designs into reality as quickly as we can and that is why this work is being done during the winter. I would like to reassure residents and businesses in Ironbridge that there are contingency plans in place to deal with any increase in the river level; plans which we already put into practice last month. It is important to note that is impossible to completely eliminate flood risk, however we are doing everything we can to minimise that risk.”

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