Inverness Flood Alleviation Scheme has already demonstrated benefit to city
The benefits of the Inverness flood alleviation scheme have already been demonstrated as around 800 houses and 200 businesses in areas behind constructed flood walls have been protected from recent high tides and extensive flood damage has been avoided.
Councillor Thomas Prag, Chair of The Highland Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee which oversees the project, said, “This is a lengthy and complex project, which simply cannot be done without some disruption. However, we are already benefiting from the excellent work carried out to date. There have been at least three occasions in the past year, when the combination of high rainfall and high tides could have in the past caused flooding to homes and businesses near the river in the city centre and perhaps £millions in damage and disruption. It is clear that the defences are already doing their job very efficiently.
He continued, “We are now beginning to see the quality of the walls and finishes above ground as the heavy engineering underground gives way to the things we can see. Perhaps most importantly we can begin to get an idea of the streetscaping work being done between Ness Bridge and Friars Bridge. With all the excavations and upheaval it will be fantastic to open up our vastly improved riverside walkways for folk to linger and enjoy.”
Works are being constructed by Morgan Sindall on Phase 1 and McLaughlin and Harvey on Phase 2, which extends from Friar’s Bridge towards the sea.
Robert Ogg, Area Director for Morgan Sindall said: “The River Ness flood alleviation scheme is a key piece of infrastructure for the city. We are pleased to be playing our part in its delivery, which is already bringing great benefits and will continue to do for generations to come.”
Jason Mears, McLaughlin and Harvey said: “With over 100 years’ experience in river and marine engineering, we at McLaughlin & Harvey are proud to be working together with The Highland Council on phase 2 of the Flood Alleviation Scheme.
“We understand this is a lengthy and complex project which could contribute to everyday disruption. However, we have found both the public and local businesses to be very patient and understanding, which we appreciate and we would like to extend our gratitude.
“Not only is this project protecting businesses and public homes from future flooding, the end results of this project, with its high quality finishes will overall, enhance the riverside environment.”
To minimise disruption to the Christmas trade, Huntly Street, from Greig Street to Young Street, and Bank Street will be re-opened to traffic on the 28th November. Works will continue on Fraser Street and it is anticipated that following completion of these works in February, works will resume on Bank Street to finish the streetscaping.
Various unforeseen construction issues, such as service infrastructure and severe weather, can affect the rate of progress, however works are still programmed to be completed in late spring 2015.
City Leader, Ian Brown added, “The flood alleviation works, when complete, will protect some 800 houses and 200 businesses from flooding for years to come and is well worth the investment, which is part funded by Scottish Government. Funding has also been secured to provide art works that will complement the flood scheme and encourage local people and visitors to enjoy a new and improved riverside experience with better paths and streetscaping.”
He added, “There will be a public drop-in session from 4.30pm to 6.30pm on the 25th November, in the Town House, to update local communities on the progress to date on The River Ness Scheme.”