Work starts on £1.2M flood prevention scheme in Worcester
Work on a £1.2million scheme to prevent flooding will start this week, bringing 12 weeks of disruption to a major city centre road.
New Road, a key route linking the city centre with St Johns and providing access to Worcestershire County Cricket Club’s ground, is to be raised by 15 inches for nearly 200 meters to prevent flooding.
The road will surface will be raised by almost 15 inches, for a stretch of three-lane one-way road running from just outside the Premier Inn hotel immediately west of Worcester Bridge, to 20 meters west of the cricket ground, a distance of 190 meters.
A box culvert will be constructed under the road surface to carry away flood water. Work is anticipated to last 12 weeks and is, according to the application to the committee, timed to avoid the cricket season.
During the three month period, at least one lane of the road will be open, starting today with lane three (next to Cripplegate Park) being closed, with no right turn from Hylton Road. A diversion is in operation via Henwick Road.
The council highways department state the project will improve the resilience of the area to flood events by allowing New Road to be converted to take two-way traffic, in and out of the city, while surrounding roads and land continue to flood.
They say once the works are completed, the likelihood of New Road being closed to flooding will be significantly reduced and that the project will also help ensure that flood water recedes quicker.
The scheme will also improve the traffic lights island at the city end.
The proposal came about as a result of the severe floods in Worcester in 2007 and 2014, which caused disruption to residents and businesses.
The project itself has been supported by the Environment Agency and the project development and planning process.
The majority of the funding for the project is coming from Government local growth funding via Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), reinforcing the importance of keeping Worcester ‘Open for Business’ during times of severe flooding.
Councillor Tony Miller, cabinet member with responsibility for the environment, said: “This scheme will help to keep Worcestershire moving during periods of severe flooding, allowing residents and businesses to function as normally as possible.
“The floods in 2007 and 2014 had such a huge impact on the city that we needed to review our flood alleviation strategies. These works on New Road are part of our ongoing works, across the county, to reduce the impact of future flooding to residents and businesses.”
The plans had faced criticism from residents who opposed the removal of seven trees, and as part of the scheme and the council has said it will plant 13 new trees in nearby Cripplegate Park to compensate.
Cllr Miller added: “The works do mean the loss of seven trees and we are aware of some residents’ concerns over this. However, 50 trees will remain along New Road and the look and feel of the road, no matter which way you approach the bridge, will continue to be very much the same as now.”