Flooding has occurred in Elgin for hundreds of years, and following a major one-in-65-year flood in 2002 that saw over 200 households evacuated, it was decided that something needed to be done.
The Elgin Flood Alleviation Scheme was born, which will be able to cope with a one-in-200-year event. At a cost of £86m, it is also one of the largest construction projects in the north of Scotland.
Elgin is one of Scotland’s oldest towns and is situated on the banks of the River Lossie.
The project stretches over a number of miles along the River Lossie and visitors to Open Doors Weekend are given tours of the area adjacent to the ruined Elgin Cathedral where a new bridge is being built.
Project manager Bob Strachan begins the tour with a presentation in front of a map, showing exactly where new bridges and relief channels would be along the river to ease flooding when it happens.
Scheme manager Allan Russell explains that this is not the first time the site has been open to the public, with local engagement an important aim for both Morrison and Moray Council.
“We’ve seen a lot of interest in the scheme, particularly local residents who want to find out more,” he says. “We’ve even got a group coming along who initially objected to the scheme so we can tell them more about it.”
The tour group are shown the path of new relief channels, as well as seeing the new bridge up close.
One local resident says: “It’s really good to get some more information about what is happening, rather than just seeing it from the road every day.”
Contractor Morrison Construction
Client Moray Council
Project value £86m (£50m construction cost)
Start date April 2011
Completion date Spring 2015