Leicester is one of the top five locations in the UK at risk of flooding according to the Environment Agency. Some 7,000 properties are at risk of flooding in Leicester from the River Soar and its tributaries with further properties at risk from surface water flooding.
Since 2013, the Environment Agency and Leicester City Council have been working in collaboration on a project to improve the flow of the River Soar through Leicester and in doing so, reduce flood risk to approximately 4,700 properties. Work on the scheme has been undertaken in 3 phases.
Our Hydrologist’s, Michael Underwood and Rebecca Haw, attended a CIWEM East Midlands Branch Group site visit this week to learn about the design and implementation of the third and final phase of the project.
Phase 3 of the River Soar flood conveyance project involves the installation of a floodwater bypass culvert to Loughborough Road Bridge, which spans the River Soar and the lowering of land on both sides of the bridge to create larger and more efficient natural floodplains. Currently there is a risk that the bridge may restrict floodwaters and cause water to back up and flood nearby properties. The new 5 metre-wide culvert, successfully installed in 2018, will significantly increase the amount of floodwater that can pass under the bridge. Once complete, Phase 3 of the project will reduce flood risk to approximately 600 homes and businesses in the Belgrave area.
The visit started at the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre with a short introduction to the Phase 3 project before we eagerly headed out into the sunshine to get a first-hand look at the implemented measures. A number of points of interest along the River Soar were visited including the Loughborough Road Bridge floodwater bypass culvert and other smaller works including several constructed floodplain wetland and flood alleviation areas.
Many thought-provoking discussions were had along the way on the use of hydraulic modelling to assess the potential scheme options, detailed design and construction aspects of the scheme and how constraints such as the existence of several major utilities at the Loughborough Road Bridge were overcome.