Isle of Wight gets flood response unit

17/12/2013
Highways Reporters

A fully equipped flood response unit, thought to be the first in the country, is now on standby to help keep the Isle of Wight’s roads clear from flooding.

Island Roads, made up of VINCI Concessions, Meridiam Infrastructure and Ringway, is working in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council to provide a highways maintenance service.

The demountable unit can be easily and quickly attached to a vehicle and deployed in minutes. It has an array of equipment that can help prevent - or respond to – major flooding incidents and will be deployed to an area most in need during a flooding emergency.

This equipment includes a small 360-degree digger which can be used to quickly lower sandbags or dig out ditches to allow water to drain away and build flood bunds to divert water. The vehicle will also carry new technology gel sacs which do a similar job to sandbags but are instead filled with a highly absorbent gel which expands and ‘inflates’ the bag when it comes into contact with water. When dry they are virtually flat which means they are easy to store; resulting in greater numbers distributed at flood site. They can also be dried out and re-used so are cost-effective.

The vehicle also includes conventional sandbags, directional and warning road signs, illumination lamps, floodlights, flood warning boards, traffic cones, pedestrian barriers, a water pump and a small generator.

Paul Herbert, Island Roads service director, said: “This response unit will make a real difference to our efforts to reduce our highways flooding in severe weather conditions and also to minimise the effects that flooding has on residents/highway users when it does occur.”

Marc Griffin, Isle of Wight Council highways PFI contract manager, added: “The introduction of a flood response unit will be of great assistance to local communities that experience local flooding problems during bad weather. This, together with the drainage schemes that are being implemented as part of the highways PFI project, will help to address a lot of the historical highway flooding issues on the Island.”

Pictured from left to right: Dave Wallis (Island Roads environmental services manager), Cllr Wayne Whittle (IW councillor of Ryde North East) and David Moore (chairman of Ryde Flood Action Group).
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