£720,000 investment in 25 drainage improvement schemes
In the past year Transport for Buckinghamshire has spent £720,000 to make permanent drainage improvements at 25 flooding hotspots on Buckinghamshire roads.
The countywide drainage improvement programme was started in 2016 to create sustainable, long term solutions as part of our proactive approach to addressing some of the more significant drainage issues across the county. TfB has been working with County Councillors and local people to identify where road surface water and ineffective drainage are an issue, so that a long term solution can be found.
Each site chosen for drainage treatment is assessed and prioritised alongside other upcoming schemes. Local knowledge, safety concerns, site visits, scans and CCTV footage of existing drainage are taken into account before determining the priority of each site. A solution to the problem is then designed and built by a team of drainage specialists – in general the work will involve improving ditch capacity, making sure soakaways are sufficient, installing new gully systems, and upgrading pipe sizes to increase capacity.
SOUTH BUCKS – Dorney Wood Road, Burnham.
Frequent flooding on Dorney Wood Road had become an issue for local residents, who approached Cabinet Member Mark Shaw to express their frustration about the deep standing water they frequently had to drive through. Mark worked with the member for Burnham, Lin Hazell, and the Local Area Technician to nominate the road for the 2017-18 drainage improvement scheme.
TfB’s drainage team carried out a joint investigation with the help and cooperation of the landowner, and found that the lane was prone to flooding in two places due to inadequate or non-existent drainage and high verges. Plans were drawn up to install gullies and a soakaway (a chamber with porous walls installed underground that allows water to slowly soak into the ground) and improve the kerb weirs on the lane to increase the capacity for drainage.
The works were carried out at the beginning of November and while the road was closed for the scheme, the drainage team collaborated with other TfB teams to arrange pot hole repairs and gully cleaning which would have been difficult to do with the road open. By making full use of the road closure to carry out additional improvement works the collaboration between the teams meant that no further road closures were necessary, offering a saving of time and money.
County Councillor for Burnham, Lin Hazell, praised the works: “This is a great example of when everything goes right – from the Local Area Technician’s very thorough and helpful brief, to the drainage team working with the landowner, to the collaboration on site between different teams to ensure full use was made of the road closure. Everyone played their part to just make sure the job was done well, improving the road for local residents for years to come. Huge well done and thanks due to everyone involved.”
NORTH BUCKS – Ashendon Road, Wotton Underwood
Flooding was a longstanding issue on Ashendon Road, with two properties affected by frequent flooding that was cascading down the road towards low lying houses. County Councillor Angela Macpherson raised the issue with the Local Area Technician for Wotton Underwood, who nominated the site for the drainage scheme. Local residents were very involved in the process of investigating the reasons for flooding, providing anecdotal evidence and photographs to the drainage team.
After some initial maintenance on the site to clear any existing standing water by jetting some gullies and clearing a manhole, a long term solution to the issue was designed to prevent further flooding. Ditches were recut, a new soakaway was put in, and some of the pipe work was upgraded to increase capacity. The road surface was also re-profiled to increase the camber and allow water to run off properly.
County Councillor for Wotton Underwood, Angela Macpherson – who was closely involved in the investigation of the scheme – thanked TfB for their efforts: “I’m really pleased that a drainage solution was found to improve the day-to-day lives of the residents on Ashendon Road. They were listened to and their local knowledge was put to good use. The improvement to the road is remarkable and it’s great it was all done before the bad weather hit in December. Many thanks to all involved.”
County Councillor Mark Shaw, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Transport has praised the efforts of the drainage scheme team: “I have received so much good feedback from my fellow councillors and local residents about the huge improvements brought about by TfB’s ongoing drainage scheme, and it’s a testament to the good work of all involved that the budget for this scheme has been increased for 2018-19. Improved drainage not only means safer roads, but also a longer life for the surface of that road because it isn’t constantly saturated with water anymore – money spent on drainage is money very well spent, it offers great value to the taxpayer. This scheme is a good example of really listening to local needs and putting road users and residents first – not only in the careful local consultation that is done to identify schemes, but also the efforts made to take full advantage of the road closures to collaborate with colleagues and get other work done in tandem.”
Since the start of the programme two years ago £1.4 million has been spent on improving 45 sites, and a further £1million has been allocated for 2018-19, an increase of almost £300k on the previous two years. The new drainage scheme will commence in April, and will include up to 40 new sites.