New study may be needed on Earith flood-spot
A FRESH study should be undertaken to see whether raising the Earith Causeway could prevent further flooding on a main commuter route, a councillor has said.
The chance of a �1million project to stop the key traffic route from becoming waterlogged was turned down several years ago because it was felt the cost would outweigh the benefit, Earith’s district councillor Terry Rogers said.
However, the recent floods and closure of the road means there should be a re-think, he said.
And the hundreds of drivers who were caught up in the traffic jams around St Ives as they tried to reach the A14 would agree.
“With the changing climate, perhaps we do need another look at the costs involved and another study to see whether it is feasible,” Cllr Rogers said.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency was adamant that the road level can not be raised any higher as it is the run off for the Ouse Washes.
“If this was blocked the water would back up and cause flooding into the village,” he added.
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However, Cllr Rogers said he had previously discussed a scheme with the agency where extra channels would have to be created to let flood water pass through in order to prevent it heading for the village.
In the end, it was decided that it was “only an inconvenience to members of the public who drive cars along there” and that, because the road was only closed for between two and five days per year, did not justify the cost.
Another solution would be more regular inspections of the road after flooding, which Cllr Rogers also supports because he believes closures often remain in place even though the Causeway is passable.
Alan Brown, group commander for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, warned that driving through road closures was “very dangerous”, as his crews had to rescue six cars in two days when they got stuck in flood water as a result of driving around the closure signs.
Cllr Rogers said he strongly disagreed with drivers ignoring road closures, especially when the flooding was bad, but added: “When the floods do go down, action to make the road passable again could be improved.”
The Environment Agency spokesman added: “Once river levels reach pre-agreed trigger level we contact Cambridgeshire County Council highways and advise that Earith Causeway will shortly flood. We also advise once water levels have receded.”