Flood Relief And Engineering Works

8th January, 2014
An ambitious programme of works for the South Devon Link Road, carried out over the Christmas period, has been successfully completed.

Devon County Council and Torbay Council, together with contractor Galliford Try, have announced that the activity was completed well ahead of schedule.

The essential works took place at four locations in Newton Abbot and Kingskerswell and despite the poor weather went ahead without major incident.

The programme began on Christmas Day with the removal of the Accommodation Bridge at Aller, Newton Abbot. This was completed in two 12 hour shifts with a third planned shift being avoided by completing the works 12 hours ahead of schedule.

At three other sites, large culverts had to be installed beneath Network Rail track. For this reason it was necessary to carry out the works over the Christmas period while no trains were running.

The heavy winter storms could have created serious problems for the team due to flooding of these areas and after the severe storm on December 23rd some of the sites were under 1m of water. At this point the works were in jeopardy of being compromised due to the tight programme. Thankfully, because of planned measures that had been set in place to improve drainage and having been pumping away ground water for the past month, the sites soon became workable once the rain ceased.

It was not only the rain that workers had to contend with, but also high winds which impacted the programme. By rescheduling the crane operations to avoid these periods, the work proceeded without difficulty.

The team’s advanced detailed planning and professionalism during execution enabled the bridge site to be handed back to Network Rail earlier than planned, and the three other work sites were all completed ahead of schedule. This success is entirely due to the skills and dedication of more than 130 men and women who gave up their Christmas for the project.  In total, over 5500 man hours were worked without accident or incident which is a massive credit to the entire team.

Jim Watson, the South Devon Link Road Project Director, said: “I am very proud of the superb team effort, a first class result and a demonstration of what can be achieved, despite the terrible weather.

 “I must thank two groups of people: firstly, to everyone who worked on the programme over the Christmas period and their commitment to this essential element of the South Devon Link Road project, thank you.

“Secondly, I would like to thank all those residents who live close to the works for their patience while we carried out these works. Over the four days we did not receive a single complaint.

“This is due to the extensive measures we took to mitigate the issue of noise as well as the effective communications we had in place. Media announcements and letter drops containing detailed information allowed us to notify residents of the work and give them sufficient notice to make appropriate arrangements for the holiday period”.

Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth at Devon County Council, said: “It’s great news that we’ve made such good progress on this element of the project, finishing the planned works ahead of schedule - this activity was a fundamental part of the construction of the South Devon Link Road.”