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Highway teams’ key role in joint response to Storm Christoph

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Highways operations continue across North Yorkshire to manage the impact of Storm Christoph, which dropped about 100mm of rain across the county last week.

The County Council’s highways teams have worked around the clock leading the effort to keep the county on the move and minimise the impact of flooding due to the storm which hit the county after days of snow and which has been followed by rapidly falling temperatures and widespread ice across the region.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “Our teams have been working flat out to minimise the impact of the storm and to facilitate essential journeys, including those to Covid-19 testing and vaccination centres. They have also supported the effort to protect properties from flooding.

“At the same time we have had to keep our winter service up to speed. However, the sheer scale of our countywide service has meant that we have been able to react and rapidly deploy resources from one side of North Yorkshire to the other.”

River levels are dropping, but some roads remain closed and monitoring and inspection of roads and bridges continues before reopening. A pumping operation continues in Norton, Malton and Old Malton. Near Selby, floodwater overtopped the A19, which is currently closed for reconstruction.

The main issue arising from Storm Christoph is the level of the ground water as rain fell on saturated ground.

A multi-agency pumping operation to protect homes and businesses is expected to continue for several weeks to manage this issue in the Norton, Malton and Old Malton areas. This has involved up to 30 pumps in an operation involving Ryedale District Council, North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water.

Several roads remain closed in the towns. An inspection of County Bridge that connects Malton to Norton will take place as soon as the falling river level allows. Floodwater on the road is likely to prevent reopening of the bridge in the short term.

Cllr Mackenzie said: “About a dozen homes have suffered flooding in the towns and we understand how distressing this is. However, the flood defences and emergency response have kept flooding to a relatively low level.

“The situation is gradually improving, but ground water remains high and the pumping operation will continue as long as necessary. However, the number of pumps is likely to be scaled back and roads will reopen as soon as they safely can.

“We appreciate all those drivers and pedestrians who sensibly heed road closure signs. However, some have ignored signs or moved barriers. Do not enter flood water. Do not put yourself and others at risk by ignoring closures.”

On Friday, floodwater overtopped the A19 at Chapel Haddlesey, where the road is currently closed for reconstruction following flood damage last year.

The water is starting to recede and the situation is being monitored to ensure that construction can restart as soon as it is safe.

Cllr Mackenzie said: “Where the new rock armour construction on the embankment on which the road runs is in place, it has done its job, standing up well to the flood and remaining intact.

“While sections of the old road still to be reconstructed have flooded, when complete these will have a new embankment with a stepped construction with rock armour for future protection and resilience. None of the new construction has reached its final road height yet.”

Elsewhere in the county, roads that remain closed are being monitored and will reopen as soon as they safely can.

Landowners are being reminded of their responsibility to keep their river banks well-maintained after large sections of tree had to be removed from the River Swale at Langton bridge at Great Langton, off the B6271 between Richmond and Nothallerton.

Find the latest information on road closures at www.northyorks.gov.uk/roadworks-road-closures-and-diversions

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