County-wide scheme tackles problem road drainage
With rain being such a noted feature of the British climate, Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB)is puttingadditional resources this yearinto sustainable, long-term improvements to drainage problems on Buckinghamshire’s roads.
As well asbeing a safety hazardand potentially causing property damage, excess water can often speed up deteriorationof the road surface – sogood drainage is a keypart ofprolonging the life of our roads.
Since March this year, work has been taking place to assess known sites across the county where road surface water and ineffective drainageare an issue, and find ways of reducing, and hopefully removing, the problem.To achieve this, TfB has looked atimproving ditch capacity, making sure soakawaysare sufficient, installing new gully systems and upgrading pipe sizes to increase capacity.
A capital budget of £720,000 has been allocated in 2016/17 for such projects. Identified initially by Local Area Technicians – TfB’s experts in each local area -each potential site for drainage improvement goes through a thorough prioritisation process which may take into account local knowledge, safety concerns, site visits, scans and CCTV footage. A long-term solution to the problem is then found, designed and built, with local residents and businesses kept informed through the whole process.
Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transport said, “A lot of work has taken place over recent years on improving our road surfaces. This project is vital to help keep our roads lasting as long as possible. We would like to be able to do more, but focussing on the high priority sites means we can combat the worst drainage issues first.”
An example of drainage improvement work has recently been completed at Pilch Lane, Great Horwood.
The area was prone to surface water flooding due to blocked drainage ditches, and with the road subject to regular use by HGVs entering the nearby industrial area, the surface had become badly damaged.
The work took place on site from the 6 June, and the road was fully open again on 1 July. Work was originally due to be completed by 20 June, but was delayed by bad weather which caused the area to be flooded. A timely reminder of why this work was needed!
As well as clearing and improving the drainage, the worst areas of the road were resurfaced and new kerbs were installed. Further small areas of surface patching were also carried out at the entrance to the industrial area.
To allow for the new drainage system, the hedges needed to be trimmed back. As the work was taking place during the nesting season, every effort was made to not disturb any wildlife, and the team worked closely with the council’s ecologist.
The finished work has vastly improved the overall area, and ultimately made this road safer and able to deal with anything that the elements can throw at it.