Highbridge flood scheme halted amid lockdown concerns

A flood sign.

Several flood alerts are in place along the Somerset coastline. - Credit: Archant

Works on a major flood defence scheme have been halted due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The £1.8million Wessex Water project to protect homes in Highbridge from flooding has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.

The project, which started in February, aims to reduce the risk of flooding in Field Way by removing surface water and relieving flows in the sewer network by installing a new surface-water pumping station and pipework.

Worston Lane foot and cyclepath was scheduled to be closed for six months, along with a section of Pepperall Road. However, these closures are now expected to last longer.

A Wessex Water spokesman said: “This project has been paused and the construction site has been secured, with current social distancing guidelines and a lack of suppliers limiting the amount of work we’re able to carry out.

“We’re also concerned about working in a residential area and potentially causing disturbance during the current lockdown.”

While the works are paused, current restrictions will remain in place.

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The section of Pepperall Road, between Alfred Court and the roundabout with Worston Road, remains closed, and traffic management and diversion routes via Edithmead and the A38, and four-way traffic lights at the roundabout, will remain in place.

Alfred Court Homecare and Highbridge Medical Centre are still accessible from Burnham Road.

Worston Lane foot and cycle path remains closed and has been fenced off, with diversions put in place for pedestrians and cyclists, including those accessing King Alfred School fields.

The works site has also been closed and secured.

The spokesman added: “After discussions with Somerset County Council, it has been agreed to leave the secured site in situ, with the road and lane closures and cabins in place.

“We’re following the very latest Covid-19 advice issued by the Government, who have officially designated water and sewerage personnel as key workers who provide an essential service.

“We’re closely monitoring developments and will update residents as soon as we’re able to confirm changes to the scheduling of this project.”