Delight Shimna Road work scheme begins

Delight Shimna Road work scheme begins

13 October 2021

THE start of work this week on the £5m Shimna Road flood alleviation scheme in Newcastle has been welcomed by local politicians.

The contract for the eagerly anticipated scheme was awarded to specialist engineering company Dawson WAM based in Carryduff, with the scheme designed to reduce the flood risk to over 300 homes and businesses.

In August last year, a significant number of homes in the Bryansford Road, Bryansford Avenue, Larchfield, Shimna Road, Shimna Vale and Bryansford Gardens areas in the resort were affected by flood water.

Heavy rain from Storm Francis — in tandem with a high tide — led to severe flooding with many residents forced out of their homes after the ground floors in their respective properties were submerged.

Work on the flood alleviation scheme, which is expected to take around one year to complete, and will involve the construction of new flood walls emanating from the Bryansford Road bridge with the anticipated length of new flood defences in the region of 1,400 metres.

The project has also slightly been remodelled following Storm Francis in order to mitigate the danger of fallen trees and other debris finding their way into the Shimna River which contributed to the flooding of homes further downstream last year. 

In addition, creative solutions such as totem poles in the river bed have been included in the design.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath and Mournes councillor Laura Devlin are pleased that work on the multi-million pound scheme started on Monday.

“News that work has started is welcome and people are well acquainted with the importance of the delivery of this scheme and the speed with which things have moved is a real testament to the leadership shown by the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon and her officials,” said Mr McGrath.

“When out and about in Newcastle, I get stopped by constituents eager to know how things are progressing and when they could expect the works to begin.”

Mr McGrath said the SDLP made a promise to those who were flooded that the party would deliver this flood alleviation scheme and has delivered on it.

Cllr Devlin said communication has been crucial in the development and delivery of the scheme, starting with Mrs Mallon’s visit to the resort last August. She also highlighted the key role of the local resilience group which was established.

She added: “The most important thing now is once this scheme is complete, some 300 homes in Newcastle will be protected against future flooding.”