During a tidal surge that reached 1.7m higher than average in the areas of Kent and Sussex between the 5th and 6th of December 2013, the VolkerHighways team working on the Medway Term Maintenance Contract was all hands on deck, working through the night to help minimise the flood damage to the local area.
With less than 12 hours' notice, the team filled a record number of 3,000 sandbags in just one day. The team then distributed the sand bags using a grab lorry to the areas designated by the council as being at imminent risk of flooding, and organised the delivery of sand bags to nearby areas.
The team erected a number of six metre long and two and a half metre high barriers in strategically located places, including around the Civic Centre. Other actions included closing flood gates, closing the Medway Tunnel and putting out traffic management signs, pedestrian management and monitoring the areas that were under most risk in order to react to any changes. In two instances the team was also called out to the houses of members of the public to assist them and calm their worries.
Once the risk period finished the team was on immediate clear-up duties. One particular road was flooded up to waist height, and as the flooding drained, the team had to ensure all obstructions to drains were being removed to allow effective and efficient draining of the water. All sandbags were removed, flood gates re-opened, traffic management signage removed and the Medway Tunnel re-opened.
Kevin Abrahams, VolkerHighways supervisor who worked day and night through the flood, said: "We have a really good team here and we are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We had people working from seven in the morning on Thursday all the way through the night to ensure all measures were taken to minimise any damage caused by such a huge tidal surge.
"Overall, the operation went very smoothly, and there was constant liaison between VolkerHighways and Medway Council as well as other authorities, who were also taking measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the local community during this period of high risk."
Phil Moore, Medway head of highways and parking services, said: "Please accept my thanks for your efforts yesterday and overnight, it is my pleasure to work with such a professional and dedicated team. Please pass on this message and my appreciation to your team at VolkerHighways, the lads stepped up once again when asked and put in every effort, complementing the high standards already achieved on this contract."