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Flood risk work underway at Loughborough Road Bridge

Published on Friday, June 30, 2017

HUNDREDS of homes in the north of Leicester will benefit from work to reduce flood risk in the latest phase of an ambitious citywide project.

The Environment Agency is leading a major project to construct a new floodwater bypass culvert at Loughborough Road Bridge, which spans the River Soar.

Currently, there is a risk that the bridge could restrict the flow of water in the event of a flood – acting a bit like a dam and causing water to back up.

The new 5metre-wide culvert will significantly increase the amount of floodwater that can pass under the bridge. Land on both sides of the bridge will also be lowered to create larger and more efficient natural floodplains.

Once complete, the scheme will reduce flood risk to over 600 homes and businesses in the Belgrave area.

The work will require a lane closure on Loughborough Road Bridge, close to the Redhill roundabout, with traffic flow controlled by temporary signals in both directions. This will be in place from Friday 7 July until April 2018.

During this time, service cables and pipes will be diverted to make way for the new flood culvert. This will involve work by five major utility companies.

The temporary lane closure is likely to cause traffic delays at peak times, and suggested alternative routes will be clearly signed.

A full road closure will be required in spring 2018 for the installation of the new culvert. This is expected to take around six weeks, during which time the bridge will be out of operation. A full diversion will be in place.

Any impact on the riverside towpath will be kept to a minimum, but where closures are necessary clearly signed alternative routes will be in place. Access from the riverside up to the road will be unavailable at Loughborough Road Bridge for the duration of the works.

The £5milllion project is the latest phase of a major programme of flood risk management delivered by the Environment Agency. The six-year programme of work is backed by £33milllion of Government cash and will help protect thousands of homes in the city from the risk of flooding. This includes major landscaping parts of the river floodplain, installing new culverts, cutting back overgrown trees and removing obstacles to the flow of the river.

Paul Lockhart, Area Flood Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The Loughborough Road bridge improvements are a really important phase to our ambitious programme of flood risk management in Leicester.

“Working in partnership with the city council, we have tried to use as many natural flood risk management techniques as possible in order to allow the river space to flow naturally. It’s fantastic that we are able to achieve increased flood protection for businesses and homes as well as being able to improve the local area for people to use and enjoy.”

Leicester City Council is working closely with the Environment Agency to ensure that the conveyance works are designed to help make the city’s riverside and waterways more attractive and easily accessible.

The Loughborough Road Bridge project will also see improvements made to the riverside footpath to create a safer and more attractive route for people travelling by foot or bike. The culvert itself will form part of a new riverside cycleway between Thurcaston Road Bridge and Melton Brook.

Riverside wildlife habitat will be improved and new ponds and wetland areas created which will provide additional protection against flooding.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “By working closely with the Environment Agency, we’ve been able to combine our determination to tackle flood risks facing the city with ambitious projects to improve our riverside and make the most of this natural asset.

“The work at Loughborough Road Bridge will protect hundreds of properties in the Belgrave area from the risk of flooding. It also provides an opportunity to improve wildlife habitats, and provide a more attractive riverside route for pedestrians and cyclists.

“This is a major project on a busy road bridge and it is inevitable that this will impact on traffic. However, the contractors have worked hard to keep road closures to a minimum while this important work is carried out.”

Work has already been completed on major flood management projects as part of the Environment Agency’s citywide programme of flood risk management.

These include the creation of Ellis Meadows – an award-winning 20-acre park and nature reserve – and improvements to the Co-op sports pitches on land between Birstall Road and the River Soar, north of Watermead Way. Both areas now act as natural defences capable of holding water in the event of a flood and keeping it away from around 1,500 nearby properties.

The joint approach by the Environment Agent and Leicester City Council has been recognised by the Government as an example of best practice in natural flood defences.

The Loughborough Road Bridge flood relief scheme is being managed by global engineering experts AECOM and carried out by Jackson, one of the largest civil contractors in the UK, on behalf of the Environment Agency.