With 96,000 roadside gullies and 9,600 catchpits cleared, 5,000 vergeside grips cut and cleaned, and 11 major drainage schemes installed, Hampshire Highways teams have been working hard through the year to make sure the county’s roads are ready for wet autumn weather.
Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at the County Council, explained: “Keeping Hampshire moving so people can get to work, school and college every day, whatever the weather, is our priority. Heavy, intense rainfall can, as we all know, result in localised flooding, and keeping the water off Hampshire’s 5,500 miles of road surfaces is at the forefront of our highways work throughout the winter.”
Alongside the annual roadside ditch clearing programme and routine maintenance work on Hampshire ’s gullies and catchpits, there is a continued programme of planned improvements to highways surface water drainage systems to make Hampshire’s road network more resilient to the effects of extreme weather.
This has seen an investment of £500,000 since April this year, allowing the completion of 11 major highways drainage schemes to reduce the risk of localised flooding. Additionally, Hampshire Highways teams have embarked on a programme to clear and clean all intercepting ‘grips’ on the rural highway network. These generally run between the road and adjacent ditch and help prevent surface water from ponding on the road surface.
Each year, around £2 million is earmarked for maintaining 900 kilometres of highway drains and roadside gullies, but there are many gullies and watercourses on private land which can become blocked without regular maintenance. These blockages can often lead to flooding on local roads after heavy rainfall.
Councillor Humby continued: “While flooding can’t be completely prevented, there is a lot we can all do to reduce the impact on our communities. I’d like to ask all residents and landowners to make sure ditches and drains on their land are kept clear of leaves, vegetation and other debris as this will compliment the work the County Council already does and ensure that, collectively, we have done everything we can to reduce, or in many cases eliminate, the risk of flooding.”