Flood prevention works are to start in a South Yorkshire town in an effort to prevent a similar disaster to the town centre flooding of 2007.
The £750,000 scheme, being carried out by Rotherham Council and the Environment Agency, will result in the installation of a pumping station and the construction of a new wall along the riverside walk. It will protect 40 business premises worth almost £30 million.
Motorists are being advised the Corporation Street car park, next to the Chantry Bridge over the River Don, will be closed for 20 weeks.
The pumping station will be sited underneath the Corporation Street car park and will operate in times of raised water levels by discharging surface water into the river - reducing the flood risk to central Rotherham.
The nearby bus station will also be protected from river flooding as will the Chapel on the Bridge – a Scheduled Ancient Monument - and one of only five remaining bridge chapels in the country.
The scheme will see the existing decorative railings on the right bank - the town centre side - being taken down and replaced with a new structural concrete wall.
A further stretch of wall will be built from Chantry Bridge northwards along the river edge adjacent to the town’s bus station.
Additionally the two public sewer outfalls that flow into the River Don adjacent to the bus station will receive heavy duty flap valves, which will prevent water backing up the pipework in a flood situation.
New lighting will also be installed along the riverside walk between Chantry Bridge and the Tesco footbridge.
Coun Gerald Smith, Rotherham Council cabinet member for town centres and economic growth, called the scheme ‘vital for protection of a large commercial area and ongoing regeneration of the town’.
“The work will prevent floods happening again,” Coun Smith said.