West Stafford bypass closed due to flooding

With the heavy rain set to continue, Dorset County Council has had to close the West Stafford bypass between Dorchester and Crossways due to flooding on the road.

The wet weather has also brought a temporary halt to the county council’s flood prevention works at the problem area, which are a third complete.

Dorset Highways has finished building of a clay bank to retain flood water within neighbouring farmland. The next two stages of the work were to put in a filter fence to take out silt and to refurbish and improve all of the existing drainage.

The work started in October following an appraisal of all the options and negotiations with the landowner, and are due to be completed in January.

Cllr Peter Finney, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for environment, infrastructure and highways, said:

“The current scheme is the most effective and cheapest option in the short-term to tackle the recurring problems with flooding, which have resulted in frequent road closures.

“It is unfortunate that the heavy rain following Storm Angus has breached the new embankment before we were able to complete the drainage improvements.

“We sympathise with road users who will again be inconvenienced. However, we need to close the road for people’s safety.

“We hope to be able to reopen the road and complete the works as quickly as possible to reduce the chance of future closures.”

Built around 20 years ago, the road has become increasingly prone to flooding because of high ground water levels combined with surface water and silt from neighbouring land.

This had made the existing soakaway system much less effective than it has been in the past. Work to improve drainage and reduce run-off from adjacent land in recent years has also failed to stop the problem.

The council has worked with Natural England and the Environment Agency to speak with local landowners about how they can help reduce the flooding problem.

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