'Critical' pipeline work almost completed

PUBLISHED: 12:47 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:47 27 February 2018

The final piece of the pipeline puzzle. Picture: Erik Sebok

The final piece of the pipeline puzzle. Picture: Erik Sebok

Erik Sebok

A £27million water pipeline is almost completed after 14 months and will see a secure water source provided to more than 280,000 people.

Inside the Cheddar pumping station. Picture: Erik SebokInside the Cheddar pumping station. Picture: Erik Sebok

Bristol Water has announced its ‘critical’ flagship project, the Southern Resilience Scheme, will finish in the coming weeks once pressure tests are finished.

A 30km pipeline was installed underground between Barrow Gurney and Cheddar which will see hundreds of thousands of people and businesses benefit from a safe and secure water source.

The water works will not only support the existing population of Somerset but also the hundreds of houses which are planned to be built in the area in the next few years.

The company has had to combat environmental, archaeological and traffic problems as it dealt with rare bat species, cave spiders, heavy traffic and even a skeleton in Backwell.

CEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik SebokCEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik Sebok

As part of the scheme, three new pumps have been introduced at the Cheddar pumping station off Sharpham Road.

Chief executive officer Mel Karam said: “This is a critical project and is one of the largest we have ever concluded. It is the largest pipeline in terms of size, complexity and cost.

“It is there to benefit more than 280,000 customers right across the network by supplying additional resilience resources, which means for years to come customers can rely on secure and resilient water sources.

“If anything happens to any part of the network we will be able to supply from another part.”

CEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik SebokCEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik Sebok

The scheme saw the Strawberry Line cycle route partially closed and an alternate route put in place.

Project lead Mike Smith said: “We had disruption with the roadworks along the A371 and the crossing at the A38 and it coincided with the GCSE exams so we set up a series of spotters along the A38 to bring the buses up so they would not get stuck in the long queues.”

Mr Karam added: “It was really important to us to make sure throughout the project we communicated with our customers and to make sure we provided them with information.

“We were also working with the wildlife by completing the work with migration and hibernation seasons in mind, which was very interesting.”

CEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik SebokCEO Mel Karam and head of network projects Mike Smith with two Bristol Water workers with the final piece of the pipeline. Picture: Erik Sebok

Work began in December 2016 and, once pressure tests are carried out, will finish in the coming weeks.

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