Bridge to help ease lower Swansea Valley flood risk opens today
A BRIDGE which will help ease the flood risk in the lower Swansea Valley has opened today.
The new 150ft (46m) structure will also provide a crossing for walkers and cyclists between Morriston and the Enterprise Park.
Called the Beaufort Bridge, it is part of a £7million scheme to reduce the level of flood risk from the River Tawe in the area south of the M4 and north of the London-Swansea railway bridges.
This includes areas like Swansea Vale, Swansea Enterprise Park, the Riverside Caravan Park, Beaufort Industrial Estate and Plasmarl Industrial Estate.
Phil Pickersgill, from Natural Resources Wales, which is carrying out the work with Swansea Council, said: "Once complete, this scheme will provide better protection for more than 300 businesses and homes in Swansea from flooding.
"Flood damage can have huge implications for businesses and the whole economy of an area. So while the work continues, we're also working closely with Swansea Council to make sure that the local business community, as well as homeowners, are prepared for flooding and know how to respond."
The new bridge is positioned at a higher level than the old one, which was sited about 65ft (20m) further north. Its higher position in the river channel means it won't hold back flood flows.
The project also includes a programme of work to increase the River Tawe's capacity.
This is being done by raising the existing flood defence embankments at a number of locations along river banks, realigning some existing embankments, constructing flood walls and preparing a warn and inform plan.
June Burtonshaw, Swansea Council's cabinet member for place, said: "The flood risk project in the Lower Swansea Valley is vitally important.
"It's an area that's been identified as at risk of serious flooding in future unless something is done, so this project is being undertaken with the interests of nearby residents and businesses at the forefront of our minds.
"Part of the scheme means structures in the river that hold back flood flows have to be removed. This is why the old bridge has been taken down and a new bridge has been put in its place at a more strategic location to ensure it doesn't inhibit flood flows. The new bridge will also maintain access between Morriston and Swansea Enterprise Park for pedestrians and cyclists. This is important because it's part of a National Cycle Network route that links Swansea to the heart of the Swansea Valley."
The work is being carried out with support from the Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund.