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Welney Wash Road set to close for up to five weeks this summer



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Work on improving flood defences across the Ouse Washes reservoir has now entered its sixth year with plans to instal a new barrier across the Welney Wash Road.

In its latest up date on progress to raise the Middle Level Barrier Bank which extends from Earith to Welmore Lake Sluice the Environment Agency explains the work being carried otu is to comply with recommendations made by an inspecting engineer under the Reservoirs Act 1975.

Work to instal the bespoke barrier on the Wash Road will mean it needs to be closed for around five weeks later this year.

Welney Wash Road will need to be closed for up to five weeks this summer to allow for essential flood barrier work.
Welney Wash Road will need to be closed for up to five weeks this summer to allow for essential flood barrier work.

The new barrier will be demountable and will, the Environment Agency, said provide a more robust flood protection - it is being made especially for Welney.

Part of the work will see a short concrete support wall on each side of the road to connect the temporary barrier to.

The Environment Agency will also build a concrete slab across the road to attach the barrier to whilst it's in use.

The agency has submitted an application for a road closure order to Norfolk County Council and are awaiting approval.

Welney Wash Road is set to be closed for up to five weeks this summer.
Welney Wash Road is set to be closed for up to five weeks this summer.

However, it is expected the work will begin on June 13 when two-way traffic lights will be in operation from then until July 19.

After that from July 20 to August 25 there will be a full road closure and then from August 26 to September 16 the two-way traffic lights will be back in operation.

But the Environment Agency says it might have to use temporary traffic lights before the road closure, this will depend on the work activitiy and room that is available.

Welney Wash Road is set to be closed for up to five weeks this summer.
Welney Wash Road is set to be closed for up to five weeks this summer.

However, they will be required after the road closure to provide enough space to work safely to complete the works.

During construction there will not be access to the Middle Level Barrier Bank at Welney. The Environment Agency will need to use all the space available to tie the foundations into the embankment either side of the road.

Access to the Middle Level Barrier Bank from Welmore Lake Sluice at Salters Lode will not be restricted.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "We understand that the Welney barrier works will be inconvenient, and we are grateful to everyone that has engaged with us to help reduce the inconvenience. We would like to thank you for your co-operation and patience, and we will continue to work with the you and the community to continue to minimise disruption."

In the meantime bank raising and haul road works that couldn't be completed last summer because of we weather will be finished this year.

This will include completing the bank raising work between Welches Dam at Manea and the railway bridge and the haul road improvement works between Mepal and Welney. This will take approximately five weeks to complete.

During late autumn and winter, the haul road floods, which restricts access for maintenance vehicles.

The spokesman said: "When we carry out the haul road works, we will bring in some material to raise the haul road in sections to help alleviate the problem in the future.

"In order to finish all the construction work this summer as planned, we may have to change how we deliver the work this year.

"We are currently working out how best to sequence the work at Welney and we may need to bring some material deliveries through Welney village to complete the haul road improvements. Once our contractor has finalised their plan, we will have more information to share with you."

It is hoped the full project will be completed by October this year however work to maintain the newly planted grass on the Middle Level Barrier Bank will continue for two years.

A timetable of work for this summer includes installing the final bird hide on the Ouse Washes RSPB Reserve.

At present a full closure of the Middle Level Barrier Bank remains in place with the following footpaths closed whilst the Environment Agency finishes the work and allows time for the grass to grow. Closures and diversions are clearly signposted.

These are: Sutton Gault to A142, Mepal; A142, Mepal to Welches Dam; Welches Dam to railway bridge; Railway bridge to Welney; Welney to Welmore Lake Sluice access restricted at Welney from June

The grass will continue to be monitored throughout the spring and the aim is to open as many of the areas above as possible later this year.



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