THE nightmare of living under fear of floods for Wigan families is finally being allayed.
United Utilities has just started a large flood relief programme in Platt Bridge which has the enthusiastic backing of Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue.
The water company will be laying a large new £700,000 sewer scheme through the open land at Amberswood that will provide extra storage to help take the pressure off nearby sewers in Liverpool Road.
The problems arise during periods of heavy rain, because the local sewer system is too small to cope. Excess rainwater overflows from the sewers onto the highway, into gardens and, in extreme circumstances, into properties.
United Utilities project co-ordinator Gareth Jones said: “This scheme is about bringing peace of mind to local families who have had to put up with the misery of sewer flooding.
“Population growth in Wigan, and the building of more houses and businesses, has resulted in more wastewater going into the pipes and fewer green surfaces for the rainwater to drain into.
“Added to that, changing weather patterns mean we see intense periods of heavy rain and the old sewers and drains are struggling to cope.
“By connecting a new sewer pipe into the drainage system we can make sure the local sewers will hold more wastewater, helping to reduce the risk of flooding during rainstorms.”
Ms Fovargue, who toured the project on Friday, said: “The importance of the work United Utilities is undertaking to reduce flood risk should provide local people with re-assurance and ease the stress and anxiety for those households most at risk.
“I appreciate that there is never a good time to perform works of this type but the end result will be a boost for the local community.”
Work began on Liverpool Road last week where the water company is building a new manhole chamber ready for the new sewer to connect to the existing system.
There will be temporary traffic lights for two weeks.
The new sewer, a massive 1.5m in diameter, will be laid in the field in early January and then the final connection work will take place on Liverpool Road between January and March, again with the workmen protected by temporary traffic lights.
Mr Jones said: “We’ve been liaising with Wigan MBC to make sure the open land is reinstated after the sewer has been laid.
“We’ll re-seed it and we will also be planting some new trees in the field.”