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News from the UK Civils Industry 25th June 2019

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
25/06/2019
Industry News

£49 million motorway project takes milestone step with bridge placement 

The M49 motorway improvement project worth £49m which is expected to create thousands of jobs reached a significant milestone this weekend.

A giant 500-tonne crane lifted a new bridge into place on the M49, near to Avonmouth, Bristol and the Severnside Enterprise Area, creating a new, elevated junction.
The M49 was only shut for the weekend, re-opening on Monday to allow the work to be carried out near to the existing bridge at Farm Lane.

Nick Aldworth, Highways England’s South West regional delivery director said: “The bridge installation marks a significant milestone for this strategically and economically important scheme for the South West and the Bristol area. Its proximity to the motorway network, railways and port makes it an ideal area to develop and encourage economic growth, and the road scheme has a phenomenally high benefit.

“Every £1 invested in this scheme will bring more than £30 into the local economy, generating more than 14,000 jobs in the long term. I’m delighted to reach this stage of the project, and we’re pleased to share the occasion with our local authority partners, business leaders and local communities.

“The weekend closure of the M49 is essential to enable this work to be carried out and in the meantime we thank all motorists for their patience. We have been keeping motorists fully informed of diversions and suggested routes via signing and the media, disruption is being kept to a minimum, and we advise drivers to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys over the weekend.”

The two bridges will be linked into a single roundabout spanning the motorway with new access and exit slip roads connecting fully with both northbound and southbound traffic.

Construction of the new M49 junction is due to be completed this winter. Full story.

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Flood defence schemes save UK £1.1 billion every year

£1.1bn a year of flood damage is being prevented by the UK’s current network of river barriers and defences, according to recently published research. The results were unveiled at the Association of British Insurers’ conference ‘Building a resilient future for the UK’s property insurance market’.

The modelling, based on thousands of simulations of weather events with and without flood defences, was commissioned by Flood Re and conducted by Risk Management Solutions (RMS). It emphasises the value to UK homes and businesses of flood defence spending and the importance of on-going investment by governments, particularly for flood-prone locations such as Cumbria, Yorkshire, Somerset and the Welsh Valleys.

Research shows that inland flooding would, on average, cost almost three times more on an annual basis without the defences – a bill of £1.8bn rather than £700m across the whole of the UK.

In England, the government currently spends around £600m each year on building and maintaining flood defences, with the Environment Agency recently recommending an annual spend of £1bn on all flood risk management.

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: “The human cost of flooding is immeasurable, putting lives at risk, causing families great trauma and pushing some businesses to the brink. Flood defences are an essential part of the protection system which prevents and minimises the trauma caused by flooding as much as possible.

“Faced with the growing threat of climate change, there is a clear financial argument for investing in flood defences. The barriers, walls and natural defences that currently prevent greater damage being done by the UK’s rivers during times of extreme weather make economic sense, but they must keep pace with the threat if they are to continue being effective.” Full story.

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