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Media briefing on behalf of Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council and the Environment Agency

Posted on 8th November, 2011 in News

Update on West Quay – Tuesday, November 8

  1. The wall is still moving.  At present, it is still performing a role in keeping river water from washing away material underneath the tarmac skin of the road.  At some stage, the wall will collapse into the river.  What effect this will have on the adjoining road and buildings is yet unknown, hence the on-going evacuation.   The works that are being done today with the crane are stabilisation works.  The work is to try to keep whatever material is under the road from further erosion.  A type of spray concrete is being used to keep this material stable.
  2. This engineering project will fall into different phases.  Until the wall collapses entirely and the consequences from that, it is very difficult to work out what will need to be done to provide a long-term solution.  Several different models are being worked upon by engineers at present, so that preparatory work has been done.
  3. Site security – the site has been zoned off into various areas where contractors are working.  There is security fencing around the entire perimeter of the site, which is patrolled regularly 24/7.
  4. It is a major construction/engineering site with multiple agencies and organisations working alongside each other in a very difficult and unstable environment.   It is in the first stage of work and there are many dangerous activities taking place.  Safety is of the utmost importance to those working on site, hence a strict booking in system for workers is being put in place.   There are also constraints on working patterns due to the tidal flows.
  5. Surveyors have fixed remote measuring equipment on various parts of the entire site, as well as physical monitoring devices to measure any movement.
  6. Highways – to help ease traffic flow, there are temporary parking restrictions on Bond Street.  SCC and SDC are working on a traffic management plan, both in the short term and in the longer term.  As it is a construction site, there will be heavy plant and machinery coming and going.  The roads are closed at present under emergency Police powers.  The traffic plan will change these powers over to Somerset County Council for on-going road closures/diversions etc.
  7. Sewerage pipe – The large 900mm sewer running parallel to the river has been isolated as a precautionary measure. Wessex Water has diverted flows from the sewer by laying a temporary pipe overland.  Customer’s water and sewerage services have not been affected.
  8. Town Bridge – it is hoped that the Town Bridge will re-open toward the end of the week.  Wessex Water have pumping equipment on the bridge.
  9. Businesses –SDC are also working with the Chamber of Commerce and commercial estate agents in the town to find suitable vacant units where businesses could be re-located.  SDC does not currently have any vacant units of its own.  Businesses are being advised to contact their insurers.  SDC have also arranged for business rates to zero –rated for affected businesses.
  10. Residents have been contacted today.  At the worst case scenario, it is possible that some may not be able to return home for up to six months.  Further assessment work is taking place on a daily basis.  It is possible that some property on the periphery of the site could be deemed safe earlier.  It is an on-going situation which is changing daily.  Several residents have requested not to be contacted by media.  A list of those willing to be interviewed will be drawn up and issued to the media.
  11. Tidal flow – there are higher tides forecast for later in the week but water engineers do not think that these pose any further flood risk.
  12. Media contact – the technical engineers and staff are extremely busy trying to find a solution to this problem and are unable to be interviewed.  Therefore, only general information on a daily basis will be available.  Please route all requests for interview via SDC press  office on 01278 435320.

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