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Flash floods call for a fast response


Every year we see more and more extreme weather events occurring around the world, such as the devastating flash floods which hit the UK on an almost yearly basis. When the worst happens, working with a temporary works specialist can help to provide solutions quickly, reconnecting communities and providing the essential support needed. Peter Aramayo, our Commercial Director, explains more.

In the UK, us Brits are well accustomed to our wet and unpredictable weather, with climate change reportedly increasing the risk of floods in England and Wales by at least 20%*. Flash floods, in particular, can be devastating. Caused by torrential downpours, overwhelmed drainage services and rivers and canals bursting their banks, flash floods can lead to the destruction of homes and livelihoods, with entire communities cut off. While you can’t stop the rain from falling, acting quickly in the event of a flood is essential. By working with a temporary works specialist and its emergency response team, contractors and local authorities can access a range of solutions quickly, helping to reconnect towns and villages and reduce the impact on residents. 

Reconnecting communities

Given the powerful force of water, it is no surprise that bridges can become severely damaged by flash floods or even be swept away entirely. An essential part of any community, especially in smaller, rural towns, the loss of a bridge can be severe. As well as being an essential means of access for residents, deliveries and other traffic, bridges can often also be used to carry valuable services across the water. From water and gas pipes to fibre optic internet cables, it is not just vehicles and people that rely on bridges. 

With the potential for a community to be cut off entirely, providing a high-quality temporary works solution and providing it fast is vital. That’s why our emergency response team of engineers is available 24/7. They are there to help whenever it is needed most. From the first call, we can be on site in a matter of hours to evaluate the situation and work with the local authority to decide on the best plan of action. 

With the engineering expertise to create a bespoke solution, as well as a large supply of temporary works equipment, we can accommodate all temporary bridge requirements. Our temporary bridges can also be designed to incorporate vital utilities services, providing a temporary means for pipes and cables to be carried across the water. For example, when flooding in Elland, Halifax led to the town’s bridge being swept away, it cut off not only a community but also their water, gas and internet services supply.  We were able to supply a temporary bridge with pipelines incorporated in the bridge’s structure, which enabled the services to be reconnected upon delivery to site. 

Repairing and protecting canal and river banks

Of course, emergency flooding solutions stretch far beyond the design and supply of temporary bridges. Shoring up a river or canal bank is another example, whether it’s providing a reactive solution for banks that have already burst or working to prevent a major collapse from occurring. In either case, protecting the local area and residents, as well as preventing further damage, is only possible by first providing effective ground stabilisation.  Shoring systems can be designed, supplied and installed quickly, providing the necessary support and temporary stability until permanent works can be carried out. 

In the event that damage has been detected, such as a crack in a bank, contractors and local councils can gain valuable insight through our structural monitoring solutions. The application of monitoring can provide real-time data on the stability of the river bank and if the damage deteriorates. This information can then be used by local authorities and their emergency planning teams to evaluate the risk and plan emergency evacuations, if needed. 

Evaluating the damage

In addition to reacting to the floods themselves, temporary works can be invaluable once the waters have subsided and the resulting damage has been evaluated. Water damage to structures and their foundations, for example, can be severe, causing structural instability and even subsidence. Here, hydraulic propping and jacking systems can be installed, supporting the structure while remedial works are undertaken.  

Emergency response

While there are numerous examples of different emergency solutions for flooding, one constant throughout is the need for speed, with people’s lives and livelihoods ultimately at risk. Working with a temporary works specialist that has the capabilities, knowledge and experience to react quickly is therefore critical. With our dedicated team of engineers, the industry’s most comprehensive range of temporary works equipment and our own in-house installation team, we have everything to help you when you need it most. 

*https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/understanding-climate/uk-extreme-events-_heavy-rainfall-and-floods

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