UNPRECEDENTED river levels have been blamed for a busy city centre flooding yesterday despite million-pound work being carried out two years ago to prevent it.

New Road in Worcester flooded on Monday (February 17) despite Worcestershire County Council spending £1.2 million raising the road by 15 inches throughout the first half of 2018 in a bid to prevent the same chaos caused by heavy floods in 2007 and 2014.

The road was closed to cars for most of the day with a free shuttle bus the only means of travelling through the water.

The county council said unprecedented river levels had caused the road to flood but its alleviation work allowed for a shuttle bus to move through the water without the road having to close completely.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council’s investments into flood alleviation schemes have helped to keep Worcestershire’s roads open for longer and have reduced the risks to residents.

“The rainfall last weekend, following on from an extended period of wet weather, has led to unprecedented river levels and surface water flooding.

“The additional road height at New Road has allowed a pedestrian shuttle bus to operate while the road has been closed to general traffic.

“Council staff continue to work alongside the emergency services, the Environment Agency and with other partners to deal with highways issues and are providing support to other services where required.”

Work began in January 2018 and lasted for almost five months with lane closures and diversions causing daily delays and disruption.

Highways bosses said the improvement work would allow New Road to be converted to allow two-way traffic when other roads flooded, allowing cars to travel in and out of the city.

The council said the likelihood of New Road flooding would be “significantly reduced” by the work whilst also making sure water receded quicker than it before.

A two-way system was put in place through New Road on Tuesday (February 18) after heavy flooding closed Croft Road, Tybridge Street and Hylton Road.

The damage caused to Cripplegate Park after it was used as a compound by workers during the work led to the county council compensating Worcester City Council with £50,000 to help bring it back up to scratch – which includes work to the city park’s tennis courts.