A MAN has paddled a kayak through a flooded underpass to highlight the safety issues it presents.

Antonio Franchi has lived in Salisbury for 29 years, after moving from Rome, Italy.

A resident of Castle Road, he is concerned about the flooded underpasses in Castle Road Roundabout, he told the Journal: "In 29 years of living here, I have never ever seen water like this in an under passage.

Salisbury Journal: Antonio Franchi rowed his canoe through the flooded underpassAntonio Franchi rowed his canoe through the flooded underpass (Image: Antonio Franchi)

"It is very dangerous, they haven't even put a sign or a notice out to say that it is flooded, nothing to say 'sorry about that'."

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Mr Franchi, who is a teacher at a special needs school, said: "For people with disabilities, it is not accessible. Wheelchairs can't go through because the water is so deep - it's covering most of the one-metre-tall posts.

"I had to help a lady with a child in a pushchair to get across the road, which is not easy to do because it is always busy."

Speaking to the Journal on Monday, February 12, Mr Franchi said: "I noticed it when I was walking home three nights ago, I'm now worried about children and old people who have to cross over the road at busy times."

Salisbury Journal:

Mr Franchi, who previously taught canoeing at an outdoor youth centre, and regularly likes to take his aquatic vehicle out in the summer, believes his unconventional protest will help highlight his message: "I like to look on the funny side of the situation, but I think this is a good way to get the message across that something needs to be done, even if it is just putting a notice out."

Mr Franchi also noted that his daughter is affected by the flooding, he said: "My daughter walks to town every day to catch the Winchester bus, she has had to change route and run to avoid missing the bus and lessons every time the subway is flooded."

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Mr Franchi is also concerned that while money is being spent on preventing flooding, results aren't being seen. He said: "A lot of money is being spent on flood defences, but it seems like a waste.

"I noticed the river water is so fast now, it's moving like rapids, do the flood defences even work?"

A National Highways spokesperson said: “We are aware of the flooding issue at Castle Road Roundabout underpass and continue to assess the situation as a matter of urgency.

"While there is a pump in situ, unprecedented recent rainfall has seen water levels beyond its capability, while litter and debris in the area means the pump often becomes clogged and needs clearing to be effective.

"We will continue to work with Wiltshire Council to improve the effectiveness of the pump, and specialist engineers will also be dispatched once we are made aware of the issue.

"To enhance our response to flooding, we are looking to improve monitoring in the area, but in the meantime, we would encourage people to contact us or the council immediately if they detect any problems. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused."