Potterhanworth bridge, Station road

8th November

Flood Update

REF: WEST/MPBR/MM/NETW

Dear Mrs Bourne

As you have noted Station Road is now open, and the drainage system is now free flowing following weeks of work by ourselves and our contractors. We have cleared the pipes from the road gullies under the bridge following a system that runs along the foot of the railway embankment for just under 250m before it outfalls in a culvert that runs beneath the railway embankment.

We uncovered three manholes and at least one lamp hole along the system, all of which were covered over with detritus and vegetation. Along its length the pipe has a 300mm diameter, which would usually be more than enough to cope, however we found that it was full to capacity with silt and a clay soil. We have eventually managed to clear the vast majority of the system of this material, allowing it to flow and clear the carriageway of water. This involved the use of specialist equipment to maintain a high jetting pressure along 250m or so across the field and so far from the tanker parked on the carriageway.    

It should be noted that the help from the local farmer was invaluable throughout, and we thank him for all his help.

Whilst we have been able to clear the pipe we will need to return in the future to survey the condition of the pipe. We are unable to camera it at the moment as the pipe is, and will be, full of water until a sustained period of drier weather, likely next summer. We have also identified some precautionary works for the future to minimise the amount of silt that can enter the system through the Highway gullies.  These works will be added to future programmes.

There are quite a few signs that lead us to the conclusion that the drainage pipe is the responsibility of a third party, and though we have carried out all of the above works under powers granted us by the Highways Act we will still be attempting to open an ongoing dialogue with them regarding the pipe, manholes etc and our findings to date.

Regards,

Mike Brown

Senior Area Highway Officer

1st November 

I spoke with the bridge gang this morning and they advised that due to compacted clay in the pipes it is likely that the bridge will remain closed until at least next week. They have brought additional track mounted equipment onto site to help clear the blockages but progress is slower than originally anticipated.

I will update this forum when I hear more from official sources.

As of 1st November 2019

The latest update from Highways is:-

A further update. We are making slow but steady progress here. We have managed to clear about half the pipe of silt and clay, which means that the system is functional and should cope with the current rainfall levels. The road under the bridge is clear. We have a route cleared to the outfall so we think this should cover us for the weekend. We do need to do more though, at least 2 more days we think so will be back next Monday and Tuesday. We will not yet open up the road though just in case.

Taken from Minutes of Parish Council meeting 28th October 2019

The Chairman gave his brief on the flood.  Although it appears to some people that nothing appears to be happening, a lot has been going on in the background, even though it is not a parish council matter to fix the bridge, it is completely out of our remit.  The County Council Highways section are responsible for roads. However, the Parish Council has written to Cllr Richard Davies, Head of Highways for Lincolnshire. A response has been received from his Senior Maintenance Officer, Rowan Smith and we have had several site meetings about the problem.

The Chairman explained that as you go down Station road, towards the bridge, there is a man hole just by the bridge on the left side which links up to the 2 drains underneath the bridge.  This was blocked with silt and has now been cleared.  Unfortunately, the 250-metre pipe that runs parallel to the railway, that comes out at a drainage ditch in a field, is also blocked. This is owned by Network Rail. The highways team have however now located 3 deep manhole wells down to about 4-5 metres to give the drainage fall. All of which will need to be checked. There is a 300mm pipe from the man hole on the road to at least 1 of these manholes and at some point, it then changes to a 425mm pipe, all of which are completely blocked with silt.  The work will take several days to fix as they need a track mounted pump to continue. They have been assisted by the farmer today to get their equipment out there but it is just simply not possible to get a heavy lorry out on to the field, hence the need for a portable solution.  The Highways scrutiny panel have also been copied in to our correspondence.

The Chairman reassured everyone that things are happening and hopefully in the next week or two an improvement will be seen; we cannot give a definite date as we have not been given one.

We have been asked why we cannot publish this information in Sheepwash or Grapevine.  The submission dates for these publications are so many weeks in advance, the bridge has been flooded twice since then and the details would not have been known and by the time you receive the publications this information will be out of date.  Therefore, the only reliable way of informing people is verbally and via social media with the hope that people will pass on information to those who do not have access to social media.  We are all inconvenienced by having to use different, longer routes, but luckily, we still have the option to use another route.  Some other places flooded may not have had such an option.