Flood works benefit from low river levels

Work being carried out for Selkirk flood prevention scheme at the Bannerfield end of the bridge.

Work being carried out for Selkirk flood prevention scheme at the Bannerfield end of the bridge.

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Flood protection work at Bannerfield footbridge is ahead of schedule thanks to the recent dry spell, project manager Conor Price has said.

Councillor Gordon Edgar has also welcomed the news that the footbridge will be open to the public outwith working hours when it is safe to do so.

The plan had been to close the bridge during the duration of the works, but fencing will be erected to enable pedestrians to use it at weekends and before 8am and after 5pm during the week.

“While this project is vital for Selkirk and will protect almost 600 businesses and homes, Bridge Street footbridge is an important connection between Bannerfield and the rest of Selkirk,” Mr Edgar said.

“While it is inevitable that there will be disruption for residents and businesses with a £31.4million infrastructure project, there should be spin-off benefits, such as trade from workers on the scheme.”

The work at the footbridge has included clearing vegetation and locating underground services that converge on either bank and cross the river on the footbridge.

These services, including water mains, sewage pipes, gas pipes, power cables and fibre optic BT lines, will be rerouted through a pipeline under the river.

Mr Price said: “The dry weather and low river levels mean that the scheme is this week preparing to lay new pipes across the river just downstream of the bridge.

“This will relocate the key services off the bridge and under the river and thus make the replacement of the footbridge a much less difficult operation next year.”

Mr Price added: “The river crossing is the first major works activity of the scheme, but has been dependant on low river levels.

“Thankfully, the current dry summer has ensured this activity is now on the verge of being completed ahead of programme and under budget.”

SBC has also said the Souters’ Footprints will be retained, although it will be removed during the works.

A mould will be taken to ensure that if it cannot be cut up and saved then it can be recreated once the scheme is complete.

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