Lower Otter road embankment and bridge building

New road embankment and bridge building for Lower Otter Restoration Project enters new phase

Dan Wilkins www.exmouthjournal.co.uk 

Building of a new road embankment and a 30m-span bridge in Budleigh Salterton as part of the Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP) enters a new phase next week. 

The concrete foundation piles for the new bridge, which will carry vehicles over the new creek network on the west of the Lower Otter Valley, are now complete and building upwards will begin. 

This includes the construction of the piers and supports of the bridge and the earth embankment for the road itself which will go across the valley parallel to the existing road.  

The embankment will eventually be 2.5 metres higher than the current South Farm Road – the same level as the nearby White Bridge – lifting it above the level of the floodplain and making it more resilient to flooding.  

Dan Boswell, LORP project manager for the Environment Agency, said: “This is a fascinating opportunity to see civil engineering in action.  

“Although it will look very big initially, after about four months the surcharged embankment will be re-shaped and reduced in height before the final road surfacing is constructed.” 

 Towards the end of the year, the new embankment will be connected to White Bridge before it crosses the River Otter – White Bridge will remain unchanged.  

To minimise disruption while the new road is being built and connected, later this year a short section of temporary private road providing access to the east of the river will be built.  The new bridge is expected to be completed during the autumn. 

The project is part of the €26 million Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts project, which also has a similar scheme underway in the Saâne Valley in Normandy, France.  

A map showing how the Lower Otter will change – Credit: Lower Otter Restoration Project

In Budleigh, it will see current grassland, created during historic reclamation work, replaced with 55 hectares of intertidal mudflat and saltmarsh, plus a net gain of more than two hectares of broadleaved woodland and 1.5 kilometres of hedgerow.