Work starts on new culvert for Forder Valley Link Road

Work to install a new 160-metre culvert in the Forder Valley will get underway next week.

The new culvert, which will carry the Bircham stream and lead to an ecology pond, is one of the environmental improvements being made as part of the Forder Valley Link Road scheme.

It will look more like a natural water channel than the existing culvert and includes an extra ledge to help otters and other wildlife travel to and from the Forder Valley Nature Reserve.

Ground preparations have already been made and the new culvert will be delivered in pre-cast sections over the next four weeks, from Tuesday 26 May. A 135-tonne crane will arrive today, ready to lift each 25-tonne section into place.

Councillor Sue Dann, Cabinet Member for Environment and Street Scene said: “People may not know we have otters in this valley – but we do and we are, as promised, doing all we can to work with nature to ensure any loss to the natural environment is more than compensated for.

“The new culvert is not only better for otters and other wildlife travelling along the valley, it’s going to create more landscaping.”

Despite the challenges of COVID-19 construction work has been progressing steadily on site, with stringent safety measures in place and all workers following the Government’s social distancing guidance. Where possible work has been re-programmed to maintain progress and take advantage of the roads being quieter.

Excavation work continues on Novorossiysk Road in preparation for a retaining wall that will be built along the new road alignment. The materials excavated are being reused on site where possible, which is better for the environment and reduces site traffic on local roads.

Earthworks are also taking place on the western section of Forder Valley Road, as it approaches Novorossiysk Road from Crownhill. There are temporary traffic lights in place for this work, but only during off-peak times (9.30am 3.30pm) and manually controlled to keep traffic flowing and maintain access for the emergency services. They will be in use for around four weeks.

A timelapse camera is being used to capture these significant project milestones and footage will be shared at various stages during construction.

The Forder Valley Link Road will connect William Prance Road in Derriford with the junction of Forder Valley Road and Novorossiysk Road, via a bridge across the Bircham Valley. It will provide an additional route from the east of the city to the north, avoiding the often heavily congested Manadon Roundabout and A386 Tavistock Road.

This will not only reduce journey times and improve traffic flow between the A38 and Derriford but also provide essential infrastructure needed to unlock growth in the north of the city.

A new area of recreational land will be provided as part of the scheme, along with an extension to the nearby local nature reserve and links from the new road to paths within the planned Derriford Community Park, connecting local residents and road users with the natural environment.