Forge Island in Rotherham gets a new multi-million-pound canal barrier as work continues on the town’s vital flood defence programme
The works are a focal part of the Rotherham to Kilnhurst Flood Alleviation Scheme, which is being carried out by Rotherham Council who have already delivered work along 5km of the River Don.
The brand new barrier has been built on Forge Island and will work alongside the recently built flood wall, which will bring a reduced risk of the River Don overspilling into the canal, flooding Rotherham centre along with the Railway Station.
The new canal barrier will provide a welcome flood defence for the town centre and will also bring a new aesthetic feature for the area sitting next to the Forge Island leisure development.
The flood defence scheme both on and adjacent to Forge Island will also see improvements to the adjacent towpath, landscaping and new amphitheatre seating which will give views of the lock.
Rotherham Council has already spent £17m providing flood defence schemes for the River Don corridor.
Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Cllr Dominic Beck, said:
“The threat of flooding causes a great deal of stress and upset to both residents and local businesses, as well as potentially causing havoc to the transport infrastructure. We saw with the flooding of 2007 and 2019 the amount of devastation it can cause, having lasting effects for years to come.
“We are committed to preventing a repeat of the flooding we’ve seen in recent years and the installation of the canal barrier will help protect our vital town centre business and Central Train Station.”
Badly affected by flooding the rail link in Rotherham has seen flooding on numerous occasions and the work being carried out by the council will see a contribution towards the canal barrier of £400,000 by Network Rail in a bid to bring resilience to the network.
Matt Rice, North and East Route Director for Network Rail, said:
“We saw the significant impact that severe weather can have on the railway earlier this year when Storm Christoph brought heavy downpours across the North, flooding sections of track in Rotherham. At the time, we were able to keep passengers moving by diverting services but installing this new canal barrier will help reduce the risk of future floods and reduce the impact on the railway.
“We’re delighted to be contributing towards the funding of the canal barrier as we continue to work closely with Rotherham Council and other partners to reduce the impact of severe weather on the railway, the town and the surrounding area.”
The project should complete next summer with the canal-side footpath and cycle route remaining closed until August 2022 with diversions put in place. A section of the TransPennine Trail will also include a diversion, however, the Statutes car park will still be open.
A spokesperson for Jackson Civil Engineering Group Ltd who won the contract to carry out the design by consultants Pell Frischmann, commented:
“Jackson is delighted to be delivering this exciting project and providing local residents and businesses in Rotherham with a vital piece of flood alleviation infrastructure.
“This scheme further bolsters the relationship we have with Rotherham Council and the good works we have already delivered on the wider Rotherham to Kilnhurst Flood Alleviation Scheme.”
Mark Duquemin, Head of Environmental Management and Sustainability for Pell Frischmann said:
“We are very pleased to have carried out the design for this iconic structure with our design partners KGAL, providing mechanical & electrical services for the flood gate, and Ecus, providing landscape architecture services.
“We look forward to working with the Council and Jackson Civil Engineering Group Ltd during the construction of the canal barrier which, when finished, will reduce flood risk to the people and communities of Rotherham from flooding.”
The work to the canal and surrounding area has seen approval from the Canal and River Trust along with the Environment Agency.
Sean McGinley, director at the Canal and River Trust Yorkshire & North East, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Rotherham Council on this project to protect the town from flooding.
“As a charity, we are always willing to work with partners to improve the infrastructure of our waterways, and we are pleased to have liaised closely with the Council during the concept and design of this project.”
Dave Ferguson at the Environment Agency commented:
“This innovative new flood defence, combined with the new flood wall on Forge Island, will help reduce flood risk to homes, businesses and key transport infrastructure in Rotherham and improve resilience to the effects of climate change.
“We can never completely eliminate the risk of flooding, but people can ensure they are ready this autumn and winter by preparing a flood plan and signing up for free flood warnings.”
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