Highways heroes

As county councillor for Bideford South and Hartland, I would like to praise the highways teams for all their hard work in recent months to keep the main road network open and for communities who have rushed to the aid of those in need of help.

In 2012 Britain suffered the second wettest year since records began in 1910. The rainfall was so extreme it was even mentioned across the pond in the Scientific American.

The Met Office has forecast that 2013 could be one of the warmest on record and, ironically, a warmer atmosphere can result in greater rainfall.

Last year brought us the deluge at Clovelly, the breaking of banks of the Great Western Canal at Halberton, the flooding of Braunton and the temporary loss of the railway line at Cowley Bridge beneath three feet of water.

The highways teams responded to various different problems, ranging from sections of road being broken up, bridges being lost and landslips.

At the end of December a team of four Devon County Council staff scouted the area: 118 separate issues were reported including potholes, fallen trees and damaged roads.

Twenty operatives dealt with these and a specialist crew cleaned all the gullies on the A39 from Abbotsham to Welcombe.

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Regular updates were sent out by Cllr Hughes – lead member for highways. Sometimes these were issued in the early hours of the morning.

Cllr Hart, leader of Devon County Council, has ordered an urgent report into the economic effects of last year’s severe storms on Devon’s transport network.

He is also lobbying for more funding from central government to repair the battered roads and rail network.

I would like to wish everyone a healthy, happy New Year and better weather for 2013.

Councillor Alison Boyle


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