Network Rail has given approval for Phase 3 of East Devon District Council’s flood alleviation scheme in Feniton, which consists of laying a one metre diameter culvert beneath the railway line.
This is the first part of the services it is providing to East Devon, which will help complete the project. A suitable 52 hour window in October 2019 within which the new culvert can be placed under the railway has now been identified by Network Rail. This fits in with other works planned by the railway around that time.
The reason behind this timing is that there is only a limited period when the temperature of the railway tracks allows the undertrack crossing to be accessed and work to be safely carried out. During warmer weather the thermal stress in the railway tracks is too high for the ballast below it to be disturbed. This is further complicated by the presence of reptiles to one side of the railway crossing, which can only be relocated during warmer weather.
Network Rail has put together the necessary proposals and programme to complete the detailed design for full technical sign off for Phase 3. However, due to the nature of the in-depth analysis of the temporary and permanent works required, and the reviews required of these, it is anticipated that this will unable to be completed before Easter 2019 after which the ballast cannot be disturbed.
East Devon is reviewing Network Rail’s proposal at present, and is actively considering how best the last and final phase of the council’s own works can be programmed to fit in with Network Rail’s timings. This includes consideration of whether other sections of the culvert can commence prior to the Phase 3 section. The council, together with Network Rail, is keen that the flood alleviation scheme can be completed as soon as is practical in order to protect over 70 homes in the village from flooding.
Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “East Devon District Council is totally committed to alleviating the flood risk to Feniton and supports Cllr Susie Bond in her drive to get the problem resolved. We are determined to get this flooding issue resolved, while maintaining the integrity of this vital railway link.”
Cllr Susie Bond, East Devon’s ward member for Feniton and Buckerell, said: “On behalf of the residents of Feniton, I have to thank the engineers at East Devon District Council for their tenacity in relation to this complex project, which is in equal measure to the resilience of the residents of Feniton! I’m particularly pleased that as a council, we are going to look at moving forward with Phase 4, which is the final stage of the project, while Network Rail completes Phase 3.”