Environment Agency want to hear your views on closing Welney Wash Road for flood barrier work next summer
Work to improve the Ouse Washes will include building a new barrier on the Welney Wash Road meaning it will need to be closed for up to six weeks next summer.
A drop-in event planned for March 18 at the William Marshall Centre is open to anyone interested in the on-going £27m project being undertaken by the Environment Agency to raise the banks on the Ouse Washes reservoir.
The phased work has been ongoing since 2017 and the drop-in will give an update on progress so far, as well as consulting the local community on timings to help decide the best period to do the compulsory Ouse Washes Section 10 works - which will mean a road closure causing a 20 mile diversion for residents wanting to get to Ely.
As part of the bank raising work the EA needs to provide a robust barrier on the Welney Wash road where it intersects the Middle Level Barrier Bank.
The EA has sourced a demountable barrier option that will provide the robust flood protection solution and will be bespoke to Welney, which will be stored and deployed from the Ely depot.
A short concrete support wall will be built either side of the road for the temporary defence to join and also a concrete slab will be put across the road for the barrier to be attached to whilst it is in use.
An EA spokesman said: "We appreciate that closing the Welney Wash Road will have considerable impact to the local community. We want to reduce that impact as much as possible by working with you to identify the most appropriate time of year to close the road for the construction works.
"There are times of the year when we are unable to carry out this work, due to bird overwintering and breeding on the Washes (November to July). We continually engage with Natural England and they have agreed to extend this window, for the barrier construction only, from April to November.
"We want to collect the communities’ opinions on timings to help us decide the best period to do the work. We expect that the total construction time will be 14 weeks. During these 14 weeks, we will need to close the road for approximately 4-6 weeks to install the concrete slab across the road.
"We will be publishing an online survey using our Ouse Washes Citizen Space following the link Ouse Washes Section 10 works for those who won’t be able to attend the drop-in event to ask for your views. This survey will open on Friday 13 March 2020 and will remain open until the middle of May 2020.
"We are working on the Ouse Washes Section 10 to satisfy Matters in the Interests of Safety raised following a Section 10 inspection of the reservoir in September 2013. These are a legal obligation under the Reservoirs Act 1975 and we must implement them within the timescale set by the Inspecting Engineer. These resulted in a project to raise the Middle Level Barrier Bank to address changes to the bank crest level caused by settlement.
"The Welney Wash Road crosses the Ouse Washes Flood Storage Reservoir and creates a low point in the Middle Level Barrier Bank. This low point increases the flood risk to the local community and the chance of a breach in the bank if water levels were to overtop it.
"Historically, when the Washes is flooded and the water level at Welney reaches a predetermined level, we created a temporary flood barrier across it using large sand bags. The last time we created such a barrier was in the winter of 2012/13. Installing large sand bags is costly in terms of labour (it takes a lot of manpower and time) and waste (we cannot reuse them). We have sourced an alternative solution, a demountable temporary barrier, which will be simpler to install and we can store to use again."
More by this authorSarah Cliss