Completed work on Benson weir & walkway

Work under way earlier


Work at a weir and walkway damaged in last year's floods has been completed - and a Thames Path link across the river restored after being closed for a year.

The walkway at Benson near Wallingford was closed after floods damaged a supporting frame - just some of the extensive damage caused in early 2014.

Ir has been repaired and further work carried out on the weir by the Environment Agency at a cost of £268,000 - part of the £270 million set aside nationally by the Government for flood repairs, £5 million of which has been spent in the West Thames area.

Barry Russell, the EA's Operations Manager said: "One of the stanchions was struck by debris coming downstream during the floods and badly damaged. This was one of the projects to bring structures along the river back to a pre-flooding state.

"In additon to replacing the supporting stanchion we have also completed extensive work on the walkway - the surface was in a poor state and needed replacing and also the key thing for us was that the old handrailing was below what is acceptable for us to have as a public walkway. So it is now much safer in the terms of public access.

"All those works are now complete and it is open again to the public. It is one that is quite heavily used by the public and has involved a quite a big diversion for people while it was closed..It has certainly been an inconvenience for local people so we are really pleased it is open again."

Members of the Benson village Health Walks are among those using the repaired walkway.
They have had to find an alternative route for their regular walks over the past year.

Other flood-related work has been at Abingdon, where 3,000 tons of sand and silt has been dredged from the river, and also at Staines, Chertsey and Datchet. Work is continuing on the Jubilee River which operated at near capacity during the flooding.

Meanwhile the entire river was open to navigation again after the last lock - Romney at Windsor - was reopened after the replacement of gates. The project was part of a continuing programme of major works.

At Romney new steel gates (above) have been installed at a cost of £425,000 to replace 30 year old hardwood gates and are expected to remain in service for 80 years.

During the winter work has also been completed at Grafton, Rushey, Abingdon, Caversham, Marsh, Marlow, Cookham, Boulters and Sunbury locks. Further work at Penton Hook has been postponed until next winter.

Story dated March 15th 2015.