Flood response - highways
During intense or prolonged rainfall events and storms, gullies can become overwhelmed and unable to clear large flows of water. As a result, there may be standing water on the highway during and shortly after storms. Following these weather events, if the water drains away, then the gully is not blocked, it was just unable to cope with the volume of water that fell in the storm.
Residents are advised:
- Do not walk or drive through floodwater. Stay safe and dial 999 if you need emergency assistance.
- Do not lift manholes or attempt to access drainage systems unless authorised to do so. You could be putting yourself or others in danger and diverting floodwater.
Our priority remains to keep the highway network safe. Gullies are designed to provide drainage to the highway surface and the systems they drain into are not designed to cope with intense weather events.
In most cases, they discharge into publicly owned sewer systems or privately owned ditches, ponds and rivers. In times of extreme weather, these discharge points are overwhelmed and in turn prevent the discharge of water from the drains. They can also become capped over by leaves, litter and dirt and this can reduce the effectiveness of the drains.
You can learn more about gullies and you can report a problem on our gullies and drainage page.
We work closely with town and parish councils, ward members, the Environment Agency and emergency services as part of our established flood risk management strategy. Where groundwater levels are high, large areas of land remain saturated until the water subsides naturally.
In some areas, local surface water flooding can be expected during extreme weather events and it is increasingly important that communities take appropriate action when river alerts are issued by the Environment Agency. Our assessments of any damage caused to the highway network in flood and adverse weather events means that recovery work can range from whole scale reconstruction of parts of the highways, to more minor damage repairs and clear up operations (additional gully emptying, jetting and road sweeping etc), where required.
Highway drainage improvements
Areas identified for improvements to the highway drainage following flood events are prioritised using our highways asset management approach. You can view the schemes being undertaken this year online.
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Page last reviewed: 20 September 2023
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