Culvert complete while main road stays open for traffic


Working on behalf of the Environment Agency, Team Van Oord has successfully completed tunnelling under a busy and important A road in Somerset – without the need to stop traffic from using the road.

The A39 through Cannington, near Bridgwater in Somerset, is the main access road to the Hinckley Point nuclear power station and a busy tourist route taking holiday traffic to the coastal resort of Minehead.

The scheme designed by Team Van Oord involved the construction of 150 metres of road diversion and a temporary bridge, which allowed traffic to remain on the A39 while the project team created a new flood alleviation channel beneath the road.

The village has a long history of flooding from the Cannington Brook. In November 2012, more than 40 properties were flooded twice within a matter of days.

In 1984, a small flood alleviation channel was built to reduce flows through the centre of the village. However, subsequent investigations have shown that the channel does not have sufficient capacity to deal with current and future flood flows.


The Cannington flood defence scheme began in April and is due to be finished early in the New Year. When complete the new defences will greatly improve the standard of flood protection for around 200 homes and businesses in the village to at least a 100-year standard. This means only a 1% chance of flood happening in any year.

Matt Phillips from Team Van Oord said: “We used conveyors to minimise manual handling of more than 5,500T of material which had to be recycled off site.

“The approach we took enabled us to complete the work in 12 weeks – five weeks fewer than the original programme – and deliver savings of more than £100k.”

18 October 2016