Cautious welcome as TfL says A406 underpass problem is fixed

The repeated flooding of a South Woodford underpass which left schoolchildren wading through water or crossing the A406 is a thing of the past, Transport for London (TfL) said this week.

The transport body came under pressure after the vital underpass, linking the north and south of Roding ward between Maybank Road and Mulberry Way, flooded last month.

Schools, councillors and a residents’ association voiced their concerns that schoolchildren could be forced to cross the four busy lanes of traffic above. This week TfL installed a new pump which it said will solve the problem.

Matt Sercombe, TfL’s head of tunnels and structures at London streets, said: “This upgrade will ensure the subway does not flood during heavy wet weather, which will reduce future maintenance costs and keep the subway open to all.”

The work, which was completed on Monday, received a cautious welcome locally with residents having been subjected to repeated floodings for years.

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Staff at Oakdale Infant School in Woodville Road, South Woodford, frequently have to alert parents by text messages when the underpass floods.

There is no pedestrian crossing on this section of the road, so residents would have to take their chances with the busy traffic.

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Hilary Hunwicks, the school’s headteacher, said: “I don’t want to wish rain on us but I’d like to reserve judgement on it until we get a prolonged period of bad weather.

“We have families and people carrying their children through it and staff members rolling up their trousers.

“If TfL have finally done something, I’m impressed.”

Cllr Gwyneth Deakins said she welcomed the fact TfL had replaced the pump “pretty quickly”.

She said: “There’s such a wave of protest, we all complained that we had kids turning up to school with wet feet.

“I think they [TfL] got the message. “

Councillors were shown a photo by TfL of the previous pump, which was installed last year.

It showed that it “had basically fallen apart”, according to Cllr Ian Bond.

He said: “Since the last one fell apart within a year, we need to hope it’s second time lucky.”

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