Recognition for Muchelney road raising

Somerset County Council’s ambitious road raising scheme in Muchelney has received national recognition.

The scheme, which saw a road to the village raised up to 1.2 metres in places, has been shortlisted for The MJ (Municipal Journal) Achievement Awards 2015 and lauded as an “innovative engineering solution”.

Most of Muchelney escaped the severe flooding that affected Somerset in early 2014. However, the village was cut-off for around ten weeks when all four of the roads into the village were submerged.

To prevent this happening again, the County Council led a project that raised a 500 metre stretch of road so that it can stay open even in the event of flooding on the same scale as last year. Delivered by the council’s highways contractor Skanska, work started in September 2014, and this February the local community and partners helped the County Council re-open the road with a celebratory event.

Somerset County Council is one of six local authorities shortlisted for the Effective Transport and Infrastructure Delivery Award, which will be presented during a ceremony in London on Thursday 18 June.

Paula Hewitt, Somerset County Council’s Director and Lead Commissioner for Economic and Community Infrastructure, said: “Being shortlisted for this award is fantastic. Everyone involved in Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan continue to work incredibly hard to reduce the risk and impact of flooding in Somerset and should be proud that a major part of that work is gaining recognition on a national level.

“I’m delighted that we are being recognised for demonstrating effective partnerships with the contractor, other agencies and in particular the community because that is what this scheme is essentially all about; trying to make sure the community in Muchelney is not cut off by flooding again.”

The project was funded by the Department for Transport and undertaken as part of the 20 Year Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan.

Simon White, Business Director, Skanska, said: “We are delighted that the hard work of the multi-agency team has been recognised in the short-listing for these high profile awards.

“At Skanska we are very proud to have constructed the raised road into Muchelney which will make real a difference to the local community. The approaches used in the delivery of this scheme meant the new road could be completed in less than half the time of a traditional project.

“Key to this success was the unique collaboration between the many organisations involved and close working with the community – its great the award judges have recognised this”

The organisations working to deliver the Flood Action Plan are: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Somerset County Council, The Environment Agency, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, Natural England, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset Internal Drainage Boards, South Somerset District Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council and Mendip District Council.