Motorists’ flooding nightmare

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EXCESS water from drains sparked disruption for motorists in Wigan.

Heavy rainfall caused surface water to collect on the A49 Ormskirk Road under the railway bridge towards Wallgate, resulting in drivers having to slowly paddle through a puddle which was several inches deep.

The Environment Agency (EA) recently completed a £12m flood alleviation scheme to prevent flooding from the River Douglas in the Newtown area,

But a spokesman for the EA said the scheme was to prevent flooding from the river only and it was not responsible for surface water on the roads, caused by heavy rain, or blocked drains.

She said: “That area does suffer from surface water because there is a dip in the road, where water builds up.

“We have had no reports coming from the river.

“Whilst we understand that flooding is an issue for residents, there are different types of flood.

“The dam looks at protecting properties from the river only. In this case, water could not escape because the drains were overwhelmed, so it would be the responsibility of the water companies.”

An analysis of the levels of the River Douglas revealed that at noon on New Year’s Day, the depth was only 0.3m, but had reach 0.7m by early evening.

The EA would issues a flood warning once levels had reached 1.09m.

A spokesman for United Utilities said that the problem lay with the road structure and was an issue for the council’s highways department, rather than the sewer capacity.

More rain and high winds are predicted for the next few days throughout the North West and the weather had already taken its toll in some places.

Winds forced the closure of Leigh Indoor Sports Centre yesterday. While no damage was reported, there were worries about the safety of part of the centre’s room. Contractors were called in to ensure its safety.

And in St Helens, a section of the roof at Langtree Park - Saints’ new stadium - was damaged as gusts of 50mph swept across the region.

The Institute of Advances Motorists has also warned drivers to take precautions when driving in high winds, including giving cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries and buses more room than usual.