Work to improve flood barriers in Ironbridge after 2020 buckling receives award

Work to make flood barriers more effective at a county heritage site has been recognised with a national award.

The road has been resurfaced at the Wharfage in Ironbridge to make the flood barriers more effective
The road has been resurfaced at the Wharfage in Ironbridge to make the flood barriers more effective

Telford & Wrekin Council was the winner of the 'small project' category at the Institute of Highways Engineers (IHE) ceremony for work carried out at the Wharfage in Ironbridge – a World Heritage Site.

The work involved resurfacing the road after barriers were pushed back and partially failed in 2020.

The council said that the contractors behind the design work – to create a road surface that would allow the temporary barriers to stay in place – used their experience working on the Silverstone racing circuit to come up with a solution.

The scheme involved complex geotechnical investigations, carriageway resurfacing, improved flood resilience, and the risk of a flood barrier deployment during construction.

The judges recognised the scheme’s environmental benefits for the local community along as protecting a site of special historical importance.

Councillors Lee Carter and Carolyn Healy with the award

Councillor Lee Carter Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, Regeneration and the High Street, said: “Telford & Wrekin Council’s engineers and partner Balfour Beatty have risen to the challenge of maintaining the historical structure of the Wharfage in a time of climate change and increased frequency of flooding.

“The work on the Wharfage has been complex and despite the work being thwarted by weather conditions, the ultimate aim of the project has been to provide the best protection for businesses, residents and visitors who live work and visit the area.

“Now these works are completed the flood barriers will have a greater resilience, helping provide protection to communities from flooding and improving the operational safety to both the Environment Agency and our partner’s workforces.

“The project has been hugely successful and I’m delighted it was delivered on time and on budget. A big thank you to all the partners involved in this successful project for the benefit of the communities we serve.”

The project team consisted of contractor Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) and the Environment Agency (EA) alongside Telford and Wrekin Council.

A spokesman for the council said: "The award-winning solution involved a 3D model developed by contractor Tarmac, to demonstrate a complex, off-centre crown, needing varying sizes of machinery to achieve precise planning and a texture to ensure maximum contact and adhesion. Contractors drew on experience having worked on the Silverstone race circuit in 2019.

"Further pressures included the fast approaching winter season where flood risks peak, while protecting businesses and allowing them to trade after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and also ensuring unimpeded access for the million or so visitors to the area, supporting the livelihood of businesses in the area."

The new road surface was put to the test in February 2022 during Storm Eunice and Storm Franklin and proved to be successful when the flood barriers were deployed along Wharfage Road.

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