River diversion 'causes flooding'

The construction firm behind a major new underpass in Northern Ireland has said that recent flooding in the area was due to a river which had been diverted to make way for the scheme.

Torrential rain in the province on Saturday overwhelmed the culvert next to Belfast's Broadway underpass, filling it with more than 100 million litres of water in a couple of hours.

Motorists had to be rescued from their cars as vehicles disappeared under 20 feet of water on the road which links motorways leading to the north and west of the province.

A central part of a £115 million upgrade of the Westlink route through the city, the underpass was opened last month - a year ahead of schedule thanks to the realignment of the Clowney River to the south of the scheme.

Leo Martin, project manager for construction firm HMC, said that it seemed clear the cause of the flooding was the adjacent river that overflowed. Some 57mm of rain had fallen in a few hours - 70% of the total expected for the month - and the river diversion had been unable to cope, he added.

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