A12 flood defence scheme by Blythburgh goes on display
20:03 18 February 2014
Future flood defences to protect the A12 at Blythburgh, near Southwold, went on display today.
The Suffolk County Council flood defence scheme to build and re-grade embankments and install sheet piling to protect what is described as a vital link between Lowestoft and Ipswich was exhibited at Blythburgh village hall.
Costing more than £1m , it is hoped work can start on the project in March along a 650m stretch of the A12 to the north of the village and its church, which is known as the cathedral of the marshes.
Council officers and Graham Newman, the council’s cabinet member for roads and transport, were on hand to answer residents’s questions about the plans for the road, which had to be closed for several days in December because of the tidal surge and was shut six years ago due to severe flooding.
Jason Skilton, a council flood and water engineer, said: “The A12 is a vital link for Suffolk and for Ipswich and Lowestoft.
“Flooding happens when we have an unusual high tide and heavy prolonged rainfall.
“A combination of those factors on December 5 led to its closing for several days. You can’t put a price on how much time and money it costs when it closes.”
The defences will see a new west embankment and toe ditch built and the second section will see sheet piling installed with the east embankment being re-graded.
Today’s exhibition also saw residents being told about how wildlife, such as lizards and snakes, will be safely removed before the work starts, with a large population of narrow-mouth whorl snails being moved several hundred yards to a new home.
Andrew Murray-Wood, council ecologist, said he genuinely believed the flood defences would also see a better habitat created for wildlife along the Blyth estuary.
However concerns were raised that wildlife lovers will have to put up with seeing the sheet piling on the east embankment and a layby would be closed to motorists who use it now to view the beauty spot.
A 72-year-old male resident of Blythburgh, who did not want to be named, said: “We are going to lose a view of the estuary. It is a view that has something special about it - but perhaps it does have to go for them (the flood defences).”
Before the exhibition Mr Newman said: “With the ever changing weather and risk of flooding across parts of the UK , we know that we cannot and must not allow a repeat of the devastating floods that took place six year ago at this location as we fully acknowledge that the A12 is the strategic link between two of Suffolk’s largest towns, Ipswich and Lowestoft.”
The main construction phase is due to take place between March and July with landscaping and planting happening in October. During the work traffic will be controlled manually and there may be lane closures if needed..