An ambitious scheme to reduce the impact of future flooding in Somerset was crowned the winner of a prestigious national award in London last week.
Somerset County Council’s scheme to raise the road to Muchelney won the Effective Transport and Infrastructure Delivery Award in The Municipal Journal (MJ) Achievement Awards 2015.
The scheme, which saw 500m of road to the village raised by up to 1.3 metres in places, has been lauded an “innovative engineering solution”, and was completed in just five months.
The Council was one of six local authorities shortlisted for the award, which the team received at a black tie ceremony on Thursday 18 June.
Former Conservative MP William Hague presented the awards on the night. Each authority was required to give a presentation on the project to the judging panel as part of the rigorous application process.
The Muchelney road-raising project was funded by the Department for Transport and undertaken as part of the multi-agency 20 Year Flood Action Plan, the work of which is now overseen by the Somerset Rivers Authority.
Reflecting on the award, Cllr John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council and Chairman of the Somerset Rivers Authority, said:
“This is a truly fantastic achievement for everyone involved in the scheme to raise the road to Muchelney.
“That this work has been recognised in this way is testament to the power of partnerships in delivering the 20 Year Flood Action Plan. We are all proud to have been able to complete this project, and in such a short period of time for the community of Muchelney, and are committed to continuing our work to reduce the impact of flooding in the future.”
Most of Muchelney escaped the severe flooding that affected Somerset in early 2014. However, the village was cut-off for around ten weeks when all four of the roads into the village were submerged.
To prevent this happening again, the County Council led a project that raised a half-kilometre stretch of road so that it can stay open even in the event of flooding on the same scale as the winter of 2014-15. Delivered by the council’s highways contractor Skanska, work started in September 2014. In February 2015 the local community and partners helped the County Council re-open the road with a celebratory event.