Construction of a new spillway on the Rochdale Canal to reduce flood risk to homes and businesses west of Todmorden begins next week.
The new spillway at Gauxholme will channel water directly into Walsden Water if the canal overflows in periods of heavy rain.
Flood water from the river between Walsden and Gauxholme has often spilled into the canal in periods of heavy rain, sometimes causing it to overtop in the Golden Gardens area, just off Rochdale Road, and also further down at Salford Way, close to Todmorden town centre.
This has caused flooding in parts of the main Rochdale Road which has flowed towards Todmorden town centre on a falling gradient, causing significant disruption and damage to homes and businesses.
The £500,000 Environment Agency scheme will take about 18 weeks to complete and will complement the £11 million final phase of the Todmorden Flood Alleviation scheme, completed last year, which reduced the risk of flooding for more than 600 properties in the town. Almost 300 additional properties in Todmorden were protected by earlier phases of the Flood Alleviation Scheme.
During construction, the canal towpath will be closed between the Gauxholme bridge on Bacup Road and the next bridge at Rochdale Road. An alternative route will be signposted along Bacup Road and Rochdale Road.
Janice Friend, environment agency project manager said: “We’re delighted to be starting work on this project, which will address one of the remaining causes of flooding in Todmorden.
“The project won’t remove the risk of flooding entirely, but it will reduce the likelihood of the level of disruption and damage which was seen in the valley in 2012.
“While work is taking place, there will inevitably be some disruption to the local community but we will be doing all that we can to keep this to a minimum. We hope that residents will bear with us while we carry out this work which will benefit the town”.
In summer 2012, torrential rain across West Yorkshire led to severe flooding in Calderdale. Since then, the Environment Agency and Calderdale Council have invested £1.5 million to reduce flood risk in the valley and are continuing to develop more schemes to ensure that local communities are better protected in the future.
Local residents who are concerned about flooding are encouraged to find out about their flood risk, and to register for the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service. More information is available on www.gov.uk/floodsdestroy, or by calling Floodline on 0845 9881188.