Exceptional rainfall and subsequent unprecedented flows in watercourses in western and north western counties recently resulted in significant flooded areas and impacts on the local infrastructure.
Since then, Departmental staff have been working closely with other flood response agencies to assist the local community and inspect, assess and repair damage to the local infrastructure network.
Around 59 roads were closed due to flooding; thirty two roads have now been reopened with all A routes opened within 3 days of the incident. Those roads that remain closed are mainly due to collapsed bridges or culverts, land slides, damaged road surfaces or debris washed onto the road and are mainly in the Claudy, Drumahoe, Plumbridge, Gortin and Greencastle areas.
Work is now focused on opening those roads that are heaviest trafficked and road users are reminded to adhere to road signs and any temporary traffic management systems in place.
In relation to bridges, while the Department is aware of those bridges that have suffered greatest damage and is working towards addressing the resulting impacts, there are around 600 further bridges in the affected area that will need to be inspected to see if there is any damage that is not immediately visible. Given this number and the other ongoing road maintenance, remedial action and timescales for any planned works will take some time to complete and schedule. Again, immediate work is focused on those bridges that are of significant importance to local communities.
The inspection of flood defences on the main rivers impacted by the recent flooding has now been completed. In total 1735m of breaches have been identified and work has commenced to repair these breaches and assess the repair options. All grilles have been checked and cleared and sandbag stocks fully replenished.
In addition the majority of designated watercourses have been inspected and repair work will be progressed and prioritised based on flood risk. DfI Rivers staff are also on site in various locations, removing trees which have been washed out of the banks and are obstructing culverts on designated watercourses.
In relation to the Drumahoe Park and Ride facility which is highly used by local people and is an important part of the local infrastructure network, work is continuing to enable the car park to be reopened as soon as possible.
During this flooding incident, 60 per cent of the average rainfall for August fell within an 8-9 hour period resulting in widespread flooding and unprecedented flows in numerous watercourses across the North West.
It is difficult to predict with any certainty the exact locations of heavy, thundery downpours, such as those experienced during 22 August 2017. However the Department has in place well established arrangements with other Departments and response organisations to provide multi-agency support to communities affected by flooding as required. Over the coming weeks the Department will be continuing its assessment of the damage caused to its infrastructure and prioritising any necessary repairs.
The latest roads information is available on www.trafficwatchni.com
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