New road embankment and bridge start to take shape in Devon

Building of the new road embankment and a 30m-span bridge, to carry vehicles over the new creek network on the west of the Lower Otter valley in Budleigh Salterton, Devon, has entered a new phase.

The concrete foundation piles for the bridge are now complete and building upwards will begin. This includes the construction of the piers and supports of the bridge (abutments) and the earth embankment for the road itself which will go across the valley parallel to the existing road. The embankment will eventually be 2.5ms higher than the current South Farm Road – the same level as the nearby White Bridge – lifting it above the level of the floodplain and making it more resilient to flooding. The new bridge is expected to be completed during the autumn.

Dan Boswell, LORP project manager for the Environment Agency, said: “This is a fascinating opportunity to see civil engineering in action.  Although it will look very big initially, after about four months the surcharged embankment will be re-shaped and reduced in height before the final road surfacing is constructed.”

The project is part of the €26 million Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts project, which also has a similar scheme underway in the Saâne Valley in Normandy, France. In Devon it will see current grassland, created during historic reclamation work, replaced with 55 hectares of intertidal mudflat and saltmarsh, plus a net gain of more than 2 hectares of broadleaved woodland and 1.5 kilometres of hedgerow.

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