£41m flood scheme is a step nearer reality

The River Teviot in Hawick.
The River Teviot in Hawick.
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The £41m Hawick Flood Protection Scheme has moved a step closer reality as a search was launched to find a project manager to bring it to fruition.

The local authority has taken to the Public Contracts Scotland website to invite tenders for the role, applications for which must be submitted by May 5.

The notice confirms that the successful candidate will be paid an estimated £500,000, excluding VAT, to manage the project to its proposed conclusion in March 2022.

Meanwhile, good progress is being made towards preparing the scheme, which will involve extensive work alongside a 3.5 mile stretch of the River Teviot.

The main construction phase will take place between 2019 and 2020.

The Scottish Government is to fund 80 per cent of the costs following damaging floods in the town in October 2005, December 2015 and January last year.

The scheme is currently in its outline design phase, which aims to prove that a flood protection scheme is feasible and can be delivered within the town.

If the scheme is successful through the statutory process this year, then Scottish Borders Council (SBC) can move the project to detailed design stage, where the precise detail of every aspect of the project will be defined to allow contractors to price the works in 2018/19.

This will allow SBC to look in detail at all the traffic management proposals along the 5.6 kilometre length of the scheme over the two year construction period to ensure that access to private residences and business is maintained at all times, while protecting the safe passage of pedestrians.

In relation to Commercial Road, the scheme will require traffic management on sections of the route to allow the current riverside walls – which range from three to six metres high – to be replaced.

Ground investigations carried out earlier this year at Commercial Road have provided vital information which will also better accommodate the needs of businesses in this area. The contractor who carries out the work will always be contractually obligated to minimise disruption to the public.

It is expected further engagement with the community will be undertaken in 2018 to discuss the development of the project, with traffic management proposals being one of the topics that SBC will seek feedback on from the public ahead of the works.

Ewan Doyle, SBC’s project management team leader, said: “The community’s input to the scheme’s development in the last two years has been fundamental to the successful delivery of the project to date, allowing the project to stay on schedule, which is critical to obtaining the funding commitment of 80 per cent from the Scottish Government in 2018/19 for the main works. Engagement with the community will continue throughout the project to ensure that the scheme’s objectives are met as well as the numerous potential benefits to the Hawick community from the scheme.”

The scheme was officially published by the council this week, triggering a 28-day consultation period.

Mr Doyle added: “The publication of the scheme is the most important stage of the project for determining the programme of works and successfully obtaining funding as it opens up the final design to public query and challenge.” Councillors will be asked to give final approval later this year.