The Dean Burn scheme on the A38 in Devon is currently being undertaken by Kier and South West Highways, entailing the construction of underground drainage system and a filtration pond which is filled with engineered soil to trap oil and metal residue from the highway.
The drainage scheme has been funded through Highways England’s Environmental Designated Funds, reserving a figure of some £675M for tackling environmental and air pollution issues.
Ultimately, the project will prevent the runoff of toxic materials, from the A38, into the nearby Potter’s Wood, which is actually listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), while simultaneously improving water quality, creating bug hotels, creating butterfly scrapes, and creating bee banks.
If the scheme proves successful it will be applied to various sites across the South West of England, with completion of the project not scheduled until the 31st October 2019.
The Project Manager at Highways England, Michelle Reed stated: “We are very excited to be trialling this new and innovative environmental system and, if it is successful, we could be rolling it out across the country.
“Our Designated Funds programme was developed so that we can invest in projects beyond our traditional road build and maintenance, and this is a glowing example of how this funding can have a positive impact on people and communities.
“The filtration system provides a physical barrier to polluted water, then chemical and biological mechanisms work in combination to break down even more pollutants. It also has the advantage of taking up far less space than other treatment systems, which makes it very cost effective.
“When completed, this work should significantly improve the quality of water running into Dean Burn and help to support the local environment and its wildlife.
“This is the first time we have used this machinery in the South West and it’s been such a success we have completed the tunnelling ahead of schedule and only two overnight lane closures have been needed.”
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