Double award celebration for Slapton realignment scheme

Slapton – Transport Project of the Year Award

Posted on: 7 March 2019

A double award success is being celebrated by the team behind the reinstatement and realignment of the A379 at Slapton.

The scheme, which moved two sections of the road further inland after they had been washed away by Storm Emma in March 2018, has been recognised at the recent Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) awards.

The Devon County Council project, carried out by Contractor Alun Griffiths Ltd, scooped the Transport Project of the Year Award and the Transportation Environment Award.

The scheme was praised for the speed at which funding, planning, design and construction took place – which was made all the more impressive given the environmental sensitivity of the area, as it is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and National Nature Reserve (NNR) and forms part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Staff from the County Council and Alun Griffiths Ltd worked closely with the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Field Studies Council and Natural England throughout the scheme to ensure that wildlife was preserved.

A major programme of environmental mitigation work was carried out to manage key features of the site, with areas of shingle vegetation fenced off to protect it from disturbance and to encourage its recovery and re-establishment, areas of marshland have been recreated and scrub is being maintained to help the population of Cirl buntings

As well as the ecology and archaeology, the teams on site also had to contend with removing unexploded ordnance.

Cllr John Hart sat at a desk

Cllr John Hart

Devon County Council Leader John Hart said: “These awards are testament to the great team work that was demonstrated throughout this scheme. The Slapton Line Partnership was an integral part of planning for the road realignment and we engaged closely with the community over the delivery of the scheme. I would like to thank the team as well as thanking the community for their patience.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “This is an incredible achievement for the team involved in this project and these two awards are very well deserved. Every care was taken to ensure that the environmental sensitivity of the area was a priority, in order to protect wildlife such as rare breeding birds, dormice and reptiles. Within seven months of the road being washed away we had a re-aligned route that is now much more resilient and everyone who played a part in getting this road back up and running should be congratulated.”

Dr Simon Dunn, South West Operations Director for Alun Griffiths, said: “This project is a showcase of what can be achieved through truly collaborative working. From the outset, the project goals were set and the whole team pulled together to achieve them. It is great that the hard work of everyone involved has been recognised by these awards, they all thoroughly deserve it.”

Councillor Julian Brazil

Councillor Julian Brazil, local County Councillor for Kingsbridge and South Hams District Councillor, said: “The re-opening of the road has made a huge difference to local people’s lives. I’d like to thank everyone involved. During the closure it was very tough on local businesses and local communities. We now need to plan for the future. The Slapton Line Partnership and local parish Councils are moving ahead with this process.”

A 70-metre stretch of existing sea defences, immediately north of Torcross, were also repaired and upgraded as part of the scheme, and the South West Coast Path was also re-routed.

The road was officially re-opened with a special community ceremony last October.

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