4:30pm Saturday 21st July 2012
MINI-DUMPER trucks are operating beneath a Darwen road to clear out blocked culverts that caused devastating floods in the town.
There is a network of culverts built about a hundred years ago to carry water from the River Darwen underground.
But a blockage in the culverts led to a huge build-up of water during the heavy downpours last month which caused floods along the A666.
The Environment Agency has now dug a nine-metre-square hole in Snape Street to removed debris that caused the blockage.
Work in the culverts is expected to last between eight and 12 weeks, with about 2,000 tonnes of waste material to be removed.
The dumpers, driven by workers wearing breathing apparatus to keep them safe in the underground tunnel, will collect debris, which is then scooped out by a digger and put into skips.
The work is expected to cost at least £450,000, taking the agency’s recent expenditure, including work to remove the culvert at Shorey Bank, in the town to about £1.6million.
Work in the culvert will also include a plastic lining to stop water seeping through to the road surface in future.
Once the culvert is cleared the agency will also repair the damaged pavement on the A666 in front of shops between Preston Street and Lloyd Street.
Darwen MP Jake Berry said: “It is fantastic we have managed to get such a big grant to to this work to the River Darwen.
“I want to make sure that money is being spent to make sure homes and businesses in Darwen are protected from extreme weather.
“I would also urge people to bear with us with the roadworks as we are working towards improving the town and its infrastructure.”
Sudell councillor Paul Browne, who lives in nearby Greenway Street, said: “The Environment Agency is doing a good job and with the money they are spending on it this should solve the problem for the future.
“We don’t want all this happening again and I hope that these guys do the business for us.”
Tony Callaghan from the Environment Agency said: “When completed, the repairs will reduce the risk of flooding to more than 150 properties.”
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