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Wednesbury flood: Road repairs continue as scale of damage revealed

By Harry Leather | Wednesbury | News | Published:

New aerial pictures show the scale of the Wednesbury flood as repairs continue at the site of the burst water main.

This aerial photo of the flood was taken by a West Midlands Police drone

The damaged 20-inch pipe has now been repaired but work to fix the road surface is ongoing after around 10 million litres of water gushed into the area yesterday.

Meanwhile the A41 Black Country New Road is back open, despite warnings yesterday that repair work could keep the route shut for days.

The scene outside Lea Brook Church where the pipe burst

Photographs taken by a West Midlands Police drone show how Leabrook Road North looked more like a river than a road after the main was damaged by a mini digger being used by contractors installing a new electricity cable.

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Workers at Stearn Electric, right, had to move to the first floor of their building, while the car park was flooded

The water was as deep as 9ft (3m) in places and reached Wednesbury Parkway tram station car park, Stearn Electric's car park and covered both carriageways of Black Country New Road.

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The pipe was damaged directly outside Lea Brook Church, which suffered 'devastating damage' to all areas in the flood according to the church website.

The Methodist Church will stay closed until further notice with services being held elsewhere after water reached around 2ft (0.6m) high in parts of the building.

A stranded mini digger in the flood outside Lea Brook Methodist Church
Flood damage inside the church

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Meanwhile it has emerged that bricks were thrown at some of the 60 firefighters who spent hours checking submerged cars, making the area safe and pumping water away from the road.

Specialist water rescue teams used dinghies to navigate the road-turned-river where at least 17 cars were submerged.

Although nobody was seriously injured, one man suffered a broken wrist after falling down a hole while another stranded woman had to be rescued by the specialist water rescue teams sent to the flood.

WATCH: Video of damaged cars, church and roads

Wednesbury flood: Cars are towed as extent of damage emerges

The water supply has now been restored to all properties, but South Staffordshire Water said that water was likely to remain murky for many customers on Friday.

Pupils were sent home from Albert Pritchard Infant, St Mary's Catholic Primary, Ocker Hill Infant, Ocker Hill Academy and Wood Green Junior schools yesterday because of the disrupted water supply.

Repair work started on the burst main once the bulk of the 10 million litres of water - the equivalent of four Olympic swimming pools - was cleared at around 5pm yesterday, while around 12 houses were left without power until the road was drained.

Water was still inside cars on Leabrook Road on Friday morning

Engineers worked throughout the night to repair the pipe and work is now focusing on repairing and resurfacing the road.

A statement from South Staffordshire Water released this morning said: "The repair to a burst main on Leabrook Road North in Wednesbury, which was caused by a third party at approximately 10.00am on 26 April, has now been completed.

"Both Leabrook Road and Leabrook Road North and now open.

"Customers in West Bromwich, Smethwick and Wednesbury may be experiencing discolouration in their water.

How the road normally looks. Photo: Google

"Our engineers are continuing to flush out our network in order to reduce the impact of any discoloration.

"Although the water may not look very nice, it’s not harmful to health and running the cold water tap in your kitchen will help to clear it.

"We're really sorry for any inconvenience caused. We are working to restore supplies to normal as quickly as possible."

Dozens of police officers, firefighters and paramedics were sent to the incident

The Midland Metro car park is back open but number 11,13 and 22 buses are still being diverted while the roadworks continue.

Black Country New Road was reopened last night after initial fears that the road would need to stay shut until the weekend due to flooding between Steel Roundabout and Parkway Roundabout.

WATCH: Dramatic footage shows burst pipe

Torrent of water floods road after main burst in Wednesbury

Dramatic footage taken shortly after the main was damaged showed water gushing out of the pipe next to Lea Brook Methodist Church as a mini digger was left stranded with its tracks submerged nearby.

Jan Britton, chief executive at Sandwell Council who sent housing officers and social workers to help residents, said: "Well done and thank you to everyone who helped yesterday.

"Impressed by joined up response by fire, police, ambulance, water and council services.

"Wish it hadn’t happened of course, but we did good getting on top of the problem."

Western Power said it was 'unfortunate' the pipe had been damaged during the work.

Harry Leather

By Harry Leather
Digital Editor - @hleather_star

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