Landslip-hit road will be reopened next summer

The B6344 near Rothbury which is shut because of the landslip at Cragend.
The B6344 near Rothbury which is shut because of the landslip at Cragend.

Repairs to a landslip which has added thousands of miles to people’s journeys will be completed by next summer, a public meeting heard.

Nearly 200 villagers from Rothbury and the surrounding areas piled in to the Jubilee Hall last week to hear an update on the landslip which closed the B6344 on Boxing Day 2012, with cars now diverted along the moor road.

Fears were voiced that the road would never be fixed and anger erupted over the length of time it has taken for work to start.

One resident said: “I think people are starting to lose their patience and you need to start work to restore their confidence in you.”

However, Northumberland County Council’s highways asset manager Simon Rudman dispelled the concerns.

“We are not going to say the work will be done by August 2015 if we don’t think we can achieve it,. That would just be setting ourselves up for failure.,” he said.

He added that while it has taken time for investigations and solutions to be done and drawn up, this was because of the complex nature of the landslip and the fact that it continued to move for a number of months.

He said that the council wanted to find a lasting, long-term solution to the problem.

But a solution has now been drawn up and contractors have been put in place to carry out the work.

VBA (Volkerstevin Ltd, Boskalis Westminster and Atkins) is the consortium appointed to carry out the work.

Stuart Newby, regional framework manager for VBA, told the meeting that the solution will be carried out in three phases.

The first will be a temporary de-watering of the site with a series of holes connected to drainpipes to take the water away.Piles will then be put into the carriageway to support it and tied to the rock.

The last part will see a permanent de-watering.

Another resident said: “Is anything being done to carefully note the real effect this is having on businesses and people in Rothbury?”

However, Coun Steven Bridgett said that he told businesses they could apply for a rate rebate if they could prove a negative impact on their trade but only a ‘handful’ of traders did so.

He added: “I am happy to do whatever I can to help people. There is no single focal point for businesses in Rothbury anymore but traders need to help themselves in promoting Rothbury as well.”

A website is to be set up on which updates will be made about the progress of works.