The Environment Agency is set to start building an earth embankment that will improve flood protection from the sea at Easton Broad, Suffolk.
The work, which will be carried out in stages over several years, will see a 400 metre long, 2.5 metre high bank built across the existing reed-bed.
The new bank will act as a barrier that will reduce the risk of tidal flooding to the B1127 between Reydon and Wrentham and protect the freshwater reedbeds upstream of the road during high tidal surges.
While the work is being done between late August and November, the speed limit on the B1127 near the site will be restricted to 40 miles per hour.
Mark Johnson, from the Environment Agency said: “Later this month we will build a trial part of the embankment across the reed-bed to the south of the river. Depending on the weather, the formation layer to this first section should be completed in November.
“Following this work, we will be monitoring this foundation to the embankment and continue with construction to complete the embankment over the next few years.
“We are taking a phased approach to allow time for the soft ground to adjust to the new embankment and to minimise any effect on the wildlife in this highly valuable conservation site.”
Easton Broad, which is a nationally and internationally designated nature conservation area, is located 3km north of Southwold on the Suffolk coast.
The project will specifically benefit the larger part of the habitat upstream of Potters Bridge and help keep it in a good condition for up to 50 years.
Mark added: “Easton Broad comprises a sand and gravel frontage at the sea that is shaped by the tide into a ridge, with an area of open water behind it that is brackish and saline. Behind this open saline water is the UK’s second largest freshwater reed-bed.
“The Easton River flows through the reed-bed and then passes under the sand and gravel ridge by a pipe to the open sea.
“We have requirements to take appropriate steps to prevent deterioration of internationally designated nature conservation areas.”
Planning permission for the scheme was granted in December 2012, and work to build a compound to the south of the reed-bed was completed earlier this year.
The proposed delivery route for materials on the first phase of works is from the north of the site, along the A12, and the B1127 (Southwold Road) to Potters Bridge.
The full changes to the embankment are expected to be completed by 2019. The work will be timed to avoid the bird breeding season to minimising any effect to the habitats and species.
The work revealed some unexpected and interesting archaeology in the field, which is believed to be an indication of medieval access leading down to the river.
This indicated that there had been a crossing at the river in this location for longer than previously thought. An archaeologist was on site throughout the preparatory works on the compound to observe and record pottery artefacts, which will be given to Suffolk County Council.
Press Release, August 22, 2013