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Work on flood alleviation scheme complete at South Devon Link Road

26th March, 2014
Work on the flood alleviation scheme for the South Devon Link Road was completed ahead of schedule last week thanks to some swift partnership working.

Work to install a major triple cell culvert beneath the Paddington to Penzance and Paddington to Paignton railway lines adjacent to the A380 near Sainsbury’s was brought forward to enable the partnership to minimise disruption for rail users.

Following the granting of a 160-hour railway possession from Network Rail, Galliford Try the contractors responsible for constructing the road, began work at midnight on Saturday, March 15th.

This phase was originally planned to take place later in the project, but the closure of the railway at Dawlish presented an opportunity to carry out the works while rail services were already disrupted.

The triple-cell culvert will mitigate the danger of flooding in the Keyberry area, allowing flood waters to be released safely into Aller Brook.

Robert Richards, Chief Engineer (Highways) at Devon County Council said: “We are grateful to Network Rail, First Great Western and Cross Country for enabling us to carry out this work at short notice and far ahead of schedule. It has meant that we have been able to reduce the undoubted disruption to commuters later in the year.”

Patrick Carney, Group Service Manager - Streetscene and Place at Torbay Council said: “This work involved coordinating a large number of parties: it is an excellent example of what can be achieved when partners work effectively together.”

The work involved some extremely complicated engineering.  Before any works could begin, the team had to create a structure that could carry the transatlantic communications cables that run adjacent to the track.

After the removal of a 60m stretch of track and the excavation of the embankment, a total of 57 culverts were installed: each weighing 27 tonnes with internal dimensions of 2.5m in height by 4.5m in width.

The crane used for lifting them into place had a lifting capacity of 750 tonnes and attracted crowds of sightseers.

Once all the sections were installed, the culverts were backfilled and the embankment was rebuilt with 20,000 tonnes of material provided by local supplier Glendinning and the track replaced on time.

Jim Watson, SDLR Project Director, said: “This was a bold operation with unique challenges, carried through with the determination of a highly experienced team whose drive and initiative made this complex programme possible.

“A vital component to the operation’s success was the collaboration between Galliford Try, Devon County Council, Torbay Council, Teignbridge District Council, Network Rail and the rail operators, building on the working relationship established during the Christmas works programme.”