Work begins to assess flood damage to Purbeck roads

Purbeck experienced the “biggest issues” in Dorset during the recent flooding according to Dorset Council, which is now working to repair the damage to the highway network including the collapse of a road in Swanage.

The flooding started during heavy rainfall on the afternoon of Thursday 4th January 2024 and increased towards the evening with rivers including a stream at Corfe Castle, bursting their banks.

Shore Road flooding
Ian Clowes

Shore Road on the evening of Thursday 4th January 2024

Shore Road flood damage

The following day, the damage was revealed and Dorset Council shut the road

Significant rainfall

Lots of drivers got stranded as the flood water on roads got deeper and more vehicles started to head home from work.

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said:

“Between 3 pm on 4th January and the morning of 5th January 2024, our highways crews were called out 82 times to deal with issues relating to the significant rainfall across our area…

“The biggest issues were on the Isle of Purbeck and surrounding area and up to the Bakers Arms roundabout, so we worked with Dorset Police to close some roads for a period of time.”

Shore Road Pot hole
Caroline Abbott

Significant collapse of Shore Road will take some time to fix

Shore Road remains closed

Part of Shore Road near Ocean Bay along the seafront in Swanage was closed and is expected to remain impassable for some time.

This was due to flood water heading towards the sea, overwhelming the drains, and causing the collapse of a culvert – the tunnel channelling the Ulwell stream under Shore Road.

A manhole also gave way and the road surface was severely damaged.

Pot holes in Shore Road

It’s clear to see where the culvert has collapsed

Pot holes in Shore Road

The Shore Road closure is currently scheduled to last until Friday 12th January 2024 but it’s likely to remain closed for weeks if not months

“May take some time to resolve”

A spokesperson for Dorset Council added:

“Flooding has caused damage across the highway network, including extensive damage to Shore Road, Swanage and landslip material on the highway near East Lulworth army camp.

“This will require significant follow up assessment and action which may take some time to resolve.”

Flooding in Corfe
Fiona Hewitt

The flooding at Corfe Castle was the worst that many remember

Corfe castle road works
J M Alcock

Following the flooding, traffic lights were installed to allow an investigation of the drainage to take place by Dorset Council highways

Corfe Castle investigations

As well as Swanage, areas affected by flooding included Studland, Wool, Church Knowle and Corfe Castle. There’s an extensive number of new potholes that road users should be aware of.

In Corfe Castle, East Street flooded near to the stream by the mill, with only 4×4 vehicles able to navigate the road. Several vehicles had to be abandoned.

Consequently Dorset Council highways has been undertaking roadworks along that stretch to dig down and investigate the drainage.

It’s not yet known whether any further work will have to be done to prevent a similar event happening again.

Further information

  • Highway hazards, obstructions and dangerous situations that could cause damage or injury, may be reported via the Dorset Council 24 hour highways line on 01305 221020. In an emergency, always call 999
  • Less urgent highways issues can be reported to Dorset Council online
  • Check on roadworks via One.Network

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