Hampshire County Council's Highways have been thanked by villagers in Litchfield, near Whitchurch and local MP Sir George Young. Engineers have been praised for their work to build an elevated road over the top of flood water that had made the only road in and out of the village impassable.
Litchfield was cut off due to surface water and ground water flooding on the C67 Newbury Road. In some places the water across the road reached 80cms deep. Groundwater levels are forecast to continue rising over the next few weeks and this means flooding on the road will continue to be a problem.
To resolve the issue Hampshire County Council began construction of a temporary elevated road on Monday 24 February and worked 12 hours a day to get the road open in five days. It involved using 107 concrete barriers to contain 720 tonnes (or 32 lorry loads) of shingle and other base materials, finished off with over 600 square metres of surfacing. The County Council worked with contractors, Amey, R&W, Bellstan and K&N on behalf of Tarmac Lafarge to ensure the work was carried out as quickly as possible.
Sir George Young MP, said: "The lack of access to the village due to flooding had been a growing concern for Litchfield residents and I was keen to see a resolution found. I am sure they are all relieved to see that Hampshire County Council has implemented a solution, which means the road can remain open even with fluctuating water levels. I would like to thank the Council for taking action to reconnect the village allowing residents to go about their daily lives."
Cllr Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: "With the only road to Litchfield being impassable, it was clear to us that we had to find a way of re-opening access to the village. The solution we came up with was to construct an elevated road allowing traffic to flow no matter the water levels on the highway below. We made every effort to get this built as quickly as possible and I am pleased that the village was open for business as usual by the weekend."
The innovative engineering solution has been used twice before in the county; most recently to re-open the B3049 Andover Road in Winchester during the current floods and before that,14 years ago in Ropley to keep the A31 open to traffic.