Highways – flooding and winter update

Due to high rainfall over the last few weeks, the Highways Team continues to deal with a significant number of flooding incidents on the highway across the area.

A very wet autumn, followed by very heavy rainfall since December, has led to increased pressure on highway and land drainage systems. There is no doubt that the highways drainage has significantly struggled in some areas. However, it is important to consider that many of the temporary flooding incidents are due to system capacity. In these cases, cleaning gullies will have a minimal impact.

Despite continuing efforts, there are currently around 40 locations still affected (as of Thursday 19th January)

The council’s teams assess each report of surface water flooding as it comes in. They deal with each issue in turn, based on a judgement of highest risk and their ability to respond and resolve an issue promptly.

I have noticed that some of the surface water flooding incidents are also being caused by drainage issues on private land, with water run-off onto adjacent highways.

On top of this increased volume of surface water, we’re seeing low road temperatures, which have fallen to -4 consistently since Monday (16th January), with continuing freezing temperatures predicted until Sunday (22th January). This, combined with the flooding and water on the highway, has resulted in some extremely hazardous driving conditions.

What we’ve done
  • Assessed more than 50 flooding sites.
  • Gritters have been mobilised on 12 occasions since Sunday (15th January).
  • Attended 71 Priority 1’s (2 hour emergencies) and P2’s (24 hour response) since the beginning of January. This represents a 300% increase on the previous 2 years’ figures.
  • Kept the network open on our main roads. Please note: the A371 Winscombe will remain closed until next Wednesday.
  • Liaised and supported the Police and Emergency Management Unit during flooding incidents and an increased number of Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs).
What we’re doing

The council continues to:

  • Work through the outstanding issues in risk priority order – including re-prioritising when new issues are reported.
  • Liaise with private landowners where there is water run-off from land we do not own or manage. This includes taking proactive action where a landowner is negligent and where lack of intervention would pose risk to the highway.
  • Mobilise gritters when icy road conditions are forecast.
  • Speak with other local authorities in region to share information.

I encourage residents to report issues to the council online – through MyAccount at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/drainage, and through the team’s social media channels (see below).

I hope that this post will improve understanding of the situation the council team – made up of council staff and contractors – are facing, and what they’re doing. I know they are working really hard and working long hours in a continued effort to resolve the issues across the network.

More information about road repairs, our responsibilities and the types of treatment is available on our website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/roadrepairs.

Full details of road closures can be found at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/roadworks.
The Highways Team provides regular updates on Facebook and on Twitter @NStravel_roads

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