An important scheme to reduce flooding and keep Worcester city centre 'Open for Business' has been approved by Worcestershire County Council's Planning and Regulatory Committee.
The scheme will help to keep New Road open for longer during times of flooding and particularly help to ensure that flood water recedes much quicker than it currently does.
Councillor Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure said:
"I am delighted that this important scheme has been given the green light. The negative impacts of the flooding in 2007 and 2014 were both obvious and significant. This scheme will help us combat likely flood disruption in the future.
Keeping this key route in and out of the city open for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists has got to be good for the city and the wider Worcestershire economy and I believe that the public realm improvements which the scheme will bring are very welcome too.
It is unfortunate that some trees need to be lost to accommodate the scheme and some disruption during construction is inevitable. However, the long term benefits of the scheme easily outweigh the costs and any disruption will be kept to the absolute minimum."
A majority of the funding for this project is coming from the Local Enterprise Partnership. This recognises is in recognition of the contribution the scheme will make to the local economy, helping to keep Worcester high on the list of locations for new investors and reducing congestion during flood events.
The scheme will see nearly 200metres of New Road and its footpaths raised, as well as cycle paths. They will be raised by up to a maximum of nearly 400mm (16 inches).
Drainage along the road will also be improved as part of the scheme and the whole of New Road will be resurfaced.
Some trees will need to be removed from New Road to allow for construction but most of the existing avenue will remain. A new avenue of 13 trees will be planted within Cripplegate Park to help compensate for those being lost.
Other improvements associated with the scheme include amendments to the traffic light islands which will allow New Road to be easily opened up to two way traffic when Hylton Road and Tybridge Street are closed by floodwater, a new landscaped entrance to Cripplegate Park with some other landscape as well as facility improvements within the park.
Construction of the scheme will begin early in 2018. Disruption will be kept to a minimum by keeping two of the three lanes open for the majority of the works.