12 September, 2023 By Thames Menteth
Aberdeenshire Council’s £15.7M flood protection scheme – one of the largest infrastructure projects that the council has ever delivered – was opened to the public last weekend (9 September).
The scheme will provide the town of Stonehaven on Scotland’s east coast with one in 200 year flooding protection from the River Carron.
Stonehaven has a long history of flooding and the flood risk to the town is likely to intensify as climate change impacts on weather patterns and increases the amount of rainfall that runs off the land into the river.
Engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald designed the scheme, while building and civil engineering company McLaughlin & Harvey delivered the works.
Work to build the scheme included construction of 2km of flood walls, the alteration of five bridges along the River Carron and its tributaries as they pass through Stonehaven, including the refurbishment and reinstatement of the listed White Bridge, and the installation of 3,000 piles.
The scheme is one of the few in the UK to feature innovative self-raising flood barriers that keep the wall low for residents. This means that the walls automatically rise an additional 1m in height during a flood event.
As part of the works a pump system for surface water flooding was installed, as well as two higher capacity culverts on the Glaslaw Burn and a new culvert under the gardens of Cameron Street that can provide additional capacity during a flood event.
Mott MacDonald designed the flood walls and embankments using 2D hydraulic modelling, which helps to verify flood levels. It also carried out ground investigations and environmental surveys.
According to the consultancy, building information modelling was used to allow a collaborative approach for all parties involved on the project.
The scheme has been finished in a granite stonework with sandstone and granite cope stones to match the surrounding environment.
McLaughlin & Harvey civil engineering director Seamus Devlin said: “We are delighted to have completed our works at Stonehaven flood protection scheme for Aberdeenshire Council.
“The new scheme, which was constructed during the challenging Covid pandemic, will be a real benefit to the local community, helping to reduce the risk of flooding to 372 residential properties, as well as two public utility sites and a school.”
Aberdeenshire Council’s head of roads and infrastructure services Philip McKay said: “I am hugely proud of the efforts of everyone concerned in the design, preparation and construction of this massive project.
“It has been a significant undertaking – one of the larger infrastructure projects Aberdeenshire Council has delivered – and now that it’s completed, this flood protection scheme will give the Stonehaven community peace of mind for decades to come.”
Aberdeen Council’s chair of its Kincardine and Mearns area committee Wendy Agnew commented: “Stonehaven has historically suffered from flooding, which has affected so many local residences and businesses within the lower reach of the River Carron, causing properties to be evacuated which has been traumatic for all those involved.
“As a flood warden myself, I fully appreciate the impact that these flood events have had on our community, and I am therefore delighted that this flood protection scheme has now been completed.”
At a ceremony last Saturday to mark its official opening to the public, Aberdeenshire Council provost Judy Whyte unveiled a commemorative plaque, there was a guided tour of the scheme itself, and a duck race was organised by Stonehaven Sea Cadets.
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