West Norfolk road flooding solution 'could cost tens of millions', report warns
Work to improve a West Norfolk road which can be shut by flooding for months at a time could cost tens of millions of pounds, a new report warns.
The A1101 Welney Wash road was one of 16 sites in the county, along with Gayton, Burnham Market and the Creakes, identified as flood relief priorities earlier this year.
County council chiefs have now outlined plans for how a £1.5 million relief fund set up in the wake of winter flooding will be used.
But papers published ahead of a cabinet meeting on Monday have also outlined the scale of the challenge faced in some areas.
The A1101 runs along the Ouse Washes and is regularly closed for weeks at a time as water gathers there in a system which aims to protect larger urban areas.
There have been calls for many years to raise the level of the road to reduce closures and prevent lengthy detours for drivers.
Papers presented to the county’s newly formed strategic flood alliance, which have been published as part of the cabinet agenda documents, say a feasibility study on the route has been completed.
But they also show the cost of improvement works could range from £4 million to more than £58 million “depending on option and desired level of resilience”.
It also warns that, despite the possibility of both the alliance and the council providing funds towards the project, “government support will be essential”.
Cabinet members are being asked to approve plans to invest nearly £700,000 from reserves put aside in the council’s budget on an expanded maintenance programme.
Another £365,000 would also be used to finance feasibility studies or match funds already committed by the alliance.
The papers also reveal that £425,000 of funding has been secured from the Environment Agency to review groundwater flood risks in Burnham Market and the Creakes, following weeks of disruption there earlier this year.
Investigations have also been taking place in Gayton, where parish councillors have been allocated funds from West Norfolk Council’s community infrastructure levy to study flood risks.
And consultations are also taking place on a draft investigation report into high groundwater levels and associated flooding problems in Necton.