Final link in Moray’s largest ever engineering project opens

Councillors at the opening of the final piece in the Elgin Flood Scheme
Councillors at the opening of the final piece in the Elgin Flood Scheme

FLOODING WILL NO longer be an issue for most homes in Elgin following the completion of the town’s flood alleviation scheme.

That is the view taken by Moray Council following the formal opening of the final piece of engineering in the £86million project on Tuesday.

A new footbridge over the River Lossie means flood protection under the scheme for homes and businesses in the town is now in place all bar landscaping and ancillary works.

Council Leader Stewart Cree called it “a momentous day” for Elgin, adding: “This is Scotland’s biggest ever flood scheme to date and the largest civil engineering project undertaken in Moray, and I am delighted to say it has been completed on time and nearly £3million under budget.

“Today marks a milestone in the history of Elgin and brings to a conclusion a decade of planning and construction work over the five flood alleviation schemes in Moray.

“This and the other four schemes – Lhanbryde, Rothes, Forres and Findhorn – amount to a £150million investment by the council and the Scottish Government in the safety of our community.  I am proud that all these have been delivered by two Independent administrations of Moray Council.”

A safe pedestrian link has now been provided by the Lossie Wynd footbridge that joins the town centre with Bishopmill and avoids the pavements on the busy A941.  In addition an extra benefit has been the creation of a safe cycle route through Elgin that will eventually create a three-mile link between the town and Lhanbryde.

When only partially completed last August the scheme proved its worth by providing protection to 270 residential and 75 business premises during a period of heavy rainfall and localised flooding, with Moray Council estimating £29million in flood damage was avoided.

The requirement for robust flood prevention was underlined in 1997 and 2002 when flooding caused the closure of the A96 for two days while the main rail artery from Aberdeen to Inverness suffered considerable damage and was closed for several weeks.

Over 200 households had to be evacuated in 2002 with 10 people airlifted to safety. Over the following eight years several stages were planned and negotiated that resulted in agreement by Scottish Government ministers in 2010 and construction work beginning in the April of the following year.

Five residential properties and twelve commercial properties were demolished to create the space required for the new, wider river corridor for a scheme that is designed to provide a 1-in-200 year standard of defence.