WATCH: Full report from Jordan Moates:
A £5.1 million project to protect Newcastle in Co. Down from flooding has got underway.
It is hoped that the Shimna River Flood Alleviation Scheme will prevent similar scenes to those in 2020 during Storm Francis.
The new project will protect over 300 homes and businesses in the area and will see the construction of nearly 1.5km of flood walls to funnel the water away from areas most at risk.
It is expected to be completed within 12 months.
"We were out of our house for 14 months which seemed like an eternity," Dorothy Ryans told UTV, explaining the importance of the project.
"I could hardly believe it when my husband came into me at the back of the house to say we are being flooded. Flooded again?
"I'm just so happy that they have actually started. There was a very short delay and we thought is this going to be another long delay but it wasn't and they are started and we trust what they do will prevent all this flooding again," said Dorothy.
Today, the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon visited the site of the new scheme. Minister Mallon said: “I was here in August 2020 and saw the devastation and destruction the flooding brought. I committed to working at pace and I am delighted to see progress on the ground with the delivery of the £5.1million Shimna River Flood Alleviation Scheme and meet the team behind this crucial project.
“I also would like to thank local residents and businesses for their continued patience and cooperation while these much needed works are carried out and ask that road users and pedestrians take care when travelling in the vicinity of the works.”