Further setbacks for Feniton flood works
PUBLISHED: 07:56 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:46 04 September 2019
Flood alleviation works in Feniton have been stopped in their tracks, with contractor talks delaying the next phase of work.
Phase three of the scheme was scheduled to be carried out in October by Network Rail, which is managing the work on behalf of East Devon District Council (EDDC).
Network Rail has advised the council that following discussions with potential contractors the track closure date will now be missed while they secure assurances and clarifications on the construction.
Ward member Councillor Susie Bond said she was 'immensely' disappointed after a year's delay on the phase.
Councillor Bond said: "It was immensely disappointing that Network Rail (NR) has been unable to reach agreement with its own contractors after a whole year of delay on this phase of the flood scheme.
"I urge NR to resolve matters as soon as possible so that phase three can be undertaken before April 2020 at the absolute latest."
Phase three will require the railway track to be closed for 52 hours for major excavation works to create a new culvert and install a one-metre drainage pipe underneath the track."
The new drainage pipe will connect up to the already completed phases one and two to take flood water away from people and properties.
An EDDC spokesman said: "Network Rail understandably needs to be satisfied that the chosen contractor can undertake the work to a standard that ensures the train timetable is not interrupted after the track closure.
"The consequences of work overrunning are hugely costly and both Network Rail and East Devon need to mitigate the risk of being fined if works overrun."
The council is seeking a new track closure date and assessing the impact on phase four of the scheme - design work was set to take place in the winter before construction in spring 2020.
A council spokesman said: "East Devon is now prioritising finding a new future track closure date for the works and will consider how phase four of the scheme can be progressed, so that the entire project can be commissioned when the excavation work is complete."
Phase four will include the construction of channels to intercept flood water upstream of the village as well as the remainder of the culvert, to link completed sections of the works.