A £2.8 million project to improve flood defences at Nene Quay Wisbech scooped a highly commended award from the Institution of Civil Engineers.

The four year Freedom Bridge Retaining Wall project to improve the flood defences "“ which helped protect the town from flooding in December was completed this year.

Judges awarded the scheme a highly commended ICE East of England Merit Award in Physical Achievement.

Freedom Bridge Retaining Wall links the only two bridge crossings in Wisbech along the east bank of the River Nene. The structure retains the B198, one of the main arterial routes into the town centre.

The River Nene posed some significant risks during construction as it's a deep, fast flowing navigable river with a tidal range of approximately six metres with the busy port on it.

Cambridgeshire County Council and main contractors Skanska worked with the Town Council and Wisbech in Bloom to provide landscaping.

The increased height of the walls will provide adequate flood protection for a one in 200 year incident while the improved footway widths, is suitable for future cycleway provision.

Brian Stinton, Team Leader for Highways Infrastructure Projects, for Cambridgeshire County Council said: "This is a recognition of the challenge this vital flood defence was to complete. We were able, with local partners, to also use it as a great opportunity to enhance the area and make provision for better transport links in the future. Delivering a massive project like was difficult, especially right in the centre of town on a busy river crossing. We would like to thank the local community for their patience during the works which helped stop the town being flooded in December."

A County Council scheme to build a new link road in Huntingdon was also given a highly commended award.

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