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Roadworks to begin at bridge as part of flood risk management scheme

Published on Thursday, January 4, 2018

MAJOR flood risk work at Leicester’s Loughborough Road Bridge is set to close the inbound lane to traffic for up to eight months.

An inbound lane closure will come into effect from Monday 8 January 2018, with a well-signed diversion in place via the A6 Abbey Lane. Outbound traffic will be unaffected.

This is part of a major partnership scheme between the Environment Agency and Leicester City Council that will help reduce flood risk to over 600 homes and businesses in the Belgrave area.

The £5milllion project will involve the installation of a new subway that will act as a flood water bypass culvert below 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.

Before the culvert can be constructed, major work to divert service cables and pipes needs to be carried out. This will involve work by five major utility companies and requires the closure of the inbound lane on Loughborough Road Bridge, close to the Redhill roundabout.

The lane closure is expected to be in place until September 2018, and will be followed by a full road closure at the bridge for the installation of the new culvert. This is expected to take around six to eight weeks, during which time the bridge will be out of operation.

The roadworks were originally planned for summer 2017, but were rescheduled while enabling works and improvements to the area around the bridge were carried out.

The improvements include the creation of a new cycle lane, new wildlife habitats and upgrades to existing footpaths. Land on both sides of the bridge has been lowered and new drainage ponds created to provide a larger and more efficient natural floodplain.

Once installed, the culvert itself will form part of a new riverside cycleway between Thurcaston Road Bridge and Melton Brook.

Paul Lockhart, area flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: “This major work at Loughborough Road Bridge is the next phase in our ambitious programme of flood risk management in Leicester.

“Once complete, this will reduce the risk of flooding to hundreds more homes and businesses as well as improving this attractive part of the river for people to use and enjoy.”

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

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Working closely with the Environment Agency means 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 Loughborough Road Bridge project requires major work on a busy road and it is inevitable that this will impact on traffic. But this is vital work that will protect hundreds of nearby properties from the risk of flooding.”

A number of flood management projects have already been completed as part of the partnership programme of works to reduce flood risk across Leicester.

These include the creation Ellis Meadows – an award-winning 20-acre park and nature reserve – and improvements to the Co-op sports pitches on land north of Watermead Way. Both areas now act as natural flood defences offering increased protection to around 1,500 nearby properties.

The joint approach by the Environment Agency 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 designed by global engineering experts AECOM and being carried out by Jacksons, one of the largest civil contractors in the UK, on behalf of the Environment Agency.

The project is just one part of the £2.6billlion the Environment Agency is investing in flood and coastal management schemes to reduce risk to over 300,000 homes in England by 2021.