Scheme to tackle problems at notorious flood blackspot

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A six-week scheme to cure a controversial flooding blackspot will take place this summer.

The notorious rail bridge at Euxton Lane in Euxton has caused flood misery for years.

Photo Neil Cross
The railway bridge at Euxton that has become an interent hit since the floods

Photo Neil Cross The railway bridge at Euxton that has become an interent hit since the floods

But it was thrust into the national spotlight this winter when a huge flood sparked an outcry.

Now rail bosses have revealed work will take place during the school summer holidays to put an end to the problems once and for all.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are proposing to replace the old and broken drain that runs from Euxton Lane to School Lane. The existing pipework is known to be damaged in a number of places and that there is a temporary pumping station in place, which during periods of heavy rain, diverts water past one of the blocked sections.

“If for any reason this temporary pump is unable to operate, excess surface water from the railway and from surrounding developments, backs up and floods the road.

“To address this problem, we are proposing to install a new and more resilient plastic pipe that will allow water to drain away from this location much quicker and more efficiently than before with no restrictions to flow.

“This improvement work will also mean that the electrically operated temporary pumps will no longer be required.

“The existing drainage runs parallel to the railway for a considerable distance from Euxton Lane beneath School Lane to an outfall in the brook behind Euxton Parish Church and it is located at some depth (up to 6m) below track level.

“The safest, most straight-forward and cost-effective way of delivering the work is using the highway beneath the railway at Euxton Lane and School Lane to access the drainage.

“If the plans are approved, we are hoping to deliver the work this summer during the school holidays.

“During the works we will, of course, pay careful attention to any other utilities located under the road, as well as ensure that the highway is returned to its original state once the work is complete.

“Due to the complexity of the project, it is expected that it will take approximately six weeks to deliver.

“This solution will help prevent water from backing up under the bridge in the future and will therefore assist Lancashire County Council’s work, as the lead local flood authority, in preventing flooding to the highway in Euxton Lane.”

The road under the bridge was flooded by some 10 feet of water following a Boxing Day storm.

The road was closed for more than a fortnight.

Folk flocked to see the flood and video of a jet skier on the water went viral.

Canoers also took to the water and people pretended to fish there, too.

Rumours were rife that vehicles lay at the bottom of the water, and scuba divers were brought in to search for them.

Ward councillor and county councillor Mark Perks said: “When Network Rail checked and confirmed that there were various blocked, or collapsed sections of the drain next to this section of the West Coast mainline back in 2010/11, I actually saw the evidence taken from their CCTV scans of the drains in question.

“Why was this issue not actually planned for then when it would have solved all the floodings and traffic issues occurring since then?

“When I first raised the issue with both themselves and LCC I was informed it would require the West Coast Mainline closing and that would cost millions.

“So what has changed since then that makes this application possible?

“The application comes late, but that has to be better than never at all.”

Katrina Reed, chair of Euxton Parish Council, said: “Euxton Parish Council are pleased that this essential work is being undertaken, especially for the residents living close to the bridge and of course for everyone who uses this important route including both pedestrians and road users.

“A concern is the duration of the work, in that, should both Euxton Lane and School Lane be closed to through traffic a rigorous diversion plan would be in place to prevent Pear Tree and Whinney Lanes becoming overused by motor vehicles.

“All aspects will no doubt be discussed in more detail at the next full Euxton Parish Council in March.”