Cracking Rothbury road set to reopen as works reach next stage

A long-term solution to the historic land instability which has caused cracking in the road between Weldon Bridge and Rothbury has reached its next stage.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:50 pm
The cracking road surface between Weldon Bridge and Rothbury.

The long-standing problem on the B6344 at Todstead is due to a complex combination of the underlying geology of the valley, weak soils, water pressure within the underlying ground and erosion by the River Coquet.

Extensive ground investigation works which have closed the road are now nearing completion. Soil and rock samples have been taken, while water pressure gauges and inclinometers have been installed.

The samples will now be tested to establish their properties and alongside data gathered from the monitoring equipment, this will help engineers understand what’s taking place beneath the ground, allowing them to design a solution to the movement that has been happening to the road.

To ensure the continued safety of the public while the main scheme is being prepared, monitoring equipment has been installed and regular inspections will be carried out.

Tests so far have revealed the pressure of artesian water within the ground is much higher than originally estimated. Further movement of the land has also taken place while the investigations have been underway, causing further cracking of the road surface.

Repairs to the road surface will need to be carried out before reopening – with the road scheduled to re-open on July 12 under traffic light control for the first few days.

Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council, explained: “A road closure is always a last resort when carrying out works and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience while this work was carried out.

“We know how important this road is to both residents and visitors and we’ve looked to keep the closure to a minimum.

“This was a critical stage of this very complicated engineering problem but it will help us deliver a long-term solution.

“The fact the road suffered further cracking while on-site demonstrates the movement that’s happening under the surface.”

Shilbottle councillor Trevor Thorne added: “We know this particular stretch of road is suffering from historic problems which require complex engineering solutions and I’m very pleased the road is now re-opening as we approach the peak tourist season.”