OVER £20million is to go on repairing roads and making it less likely that communities will be cut off by future floods.

Some of the work approved by Somerset County Council could even be completed before the end of the year.

The measures on the Somerset Levels and Moors, which were underwater for weeks after being flooded in December, included

  • up to £1million to clear up the area and make the roads safe to use following the devastating floods;
  • £1.6million to rebuild and resurface roads using more flood resilient surfacing in places;
  • £270,000 for feasibility studies for major road improvements such as raising roads at Muchelney, the A361 between East Lyng and Burrowbridge, the A372 Beer Wall and other locations;
  • £750,000 to raise a road into Muchelney or other works identified in the feasibility studies;
  • £4million to raise the A372, install sluice gates and enlarge the culvert under the road for the River Sowy, reducing the frequency and duration of flooding on the Somerset Levels and Moors;
  • £75,000 for permanent signs and gating for traffic diversion routes in the events of future floods.

Further funding will go on repairs to bridges and other structures, surface dressing, resurfacing, patching, repairing damaged footways, drainage, a deep clean of the drainage system and verge works to manage water flow; stabilising and reconstruction of embankments and repairs to rights of way.

The £22.3million bill for all the work will be footed through two Department of Transport grants.

Council leader Cllr John Osman said he was confident the measures would help cut the risk of flooding on the scale seen this winter, while homes would be less likely to be flooded and the possibility of entire communities being cut off for weeks would be reduced.

Cllr Harvey Siggs, the county’s cabinet member for highways, said: “This decision means we can continue drawing up detailed plans to make sure this money is being invested in the right areas.

“Our residents, businesses and communities suffered so badly last winter, and this is a big step in the right direction to make sure that they do not suffer again.”