Contractors World

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Contractors World UK & Ireland
2012 Vol 2 No 3   
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Time lapse of Oakenshaw Beck flood alleviation works using pre-cast construction elements
° Courtesy of CA Blackwell (Contracts) Ltd

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More flood alleviations works - this time at Wakefield

For some people, the widespread floods of summer 2007 were a foretaste of the kind of natural disaster that results from man-made climate change. For many in the water industry, it was also a stark reminder of how urgently we need to upgrade our water infrastructure.

One of those areas worst hit by the 2007 floods was Wakefield, West Yorkshire, a city with a long history of flooding due to river modifications associated with its industrial development. Serious flooding has hit Wakefield five times since 1940, with a further three floods within just the past few years.

Following the 2007 floods, more than £12 million has been spent on projects to reduce the flood risk from the River Calder and Wash Dike. And now Wakefield Council, in partnership with the Environment Agency, is nearing completion of a £1.3 million project to contain floodwater from the Oakenshaw Beck in the Agbrigg district of the city.

First time for everything - in this case pre-cast concrete structural components for contractor involved in  flood alleviation works    Although normally a small and unremarkable stream, Oakenshaw Beck is notorious for flooding and in 2007 more than 400 properties were inundated when the beck overflowed.

First time for everything - in this case pre-cast concrete structural components for contractor involved in flood alleviation works

Main contractor CA Blackwell (Contracts) Ltd from Wakefield, won the contract to construct a system of storage ponds and flood embankments near Agbrigg to allow floodwater to be diverted away from the natural watercourse during flood conditions. The system then discharges the stored water back into the stream when it returns to normal levels.

Besides excavating a series of ponds and swales to accept the floodwater, Blackwell’s had to install two concrete structures, plus associated concrete pipes, to transfer water to and from the storage ponds.

The upstream control structure is a 12 m long, 6.5 m wide chamber containing a penstock and valve system which intercepts high water flows and feeds the surplus into the storage ponds.

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Page updated: March / April 2012



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