Landslip road in Northumberland is reopen

It's been almost three-and-a-half years in the making, but a road which was closed in 2012 after a major landslip is now open.

Thursday, 24th March 2016, 4:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2016, 5:38 pm
Rothbury County councillor Steven Bridgett and Coun Ian Swithenbank, Cabinet Member for Local Services, at the reopened road, with a car driving past in the background. Picture by Jane Coltman

The first series of vehicles have been driving along the repaired B6344, at Crag End, near Rothbury, which reopened this afternoon, ahead of the Easter weekend.

Delighted Rothbury County councillor Steven Bridgett said: "Having this road reopen is great for the residents and businesses in Rothbury and surrounding areas. It is very much welcome and it is a huge relief. I understand that it has taken us a bit of time to get there, but it is open now. This is the shortest route into the Coquet Valley, which is an absolutely spectacular place to visit and Rothbury is very much open for business."

The road was shut after the landslip which started on Boxing Day 2012 and worsened during the following months. The repairs have cost £10million and after 13 months of construction, contractors have been pulling out all the stops to open it before the busy Easter period.

The work to repair the landslip has been one of the most complex engineering projects carried out by the council in many years. The difficult geology of the ground meant that a great deal of design and investigation work was needed before repairs could start.

Construction began in February 2015 after engineers spent the previous year installing a pumping system that could remove millions of litres of water from the ground underneath the landslip.

The work was made even more complex as the landslip took place in a sensitive environmental area containing a number of protected species.

The damaged road, pictured in December 2014.

The physical construction work involved driving hundreds of concrete filled steel tubes up to 80 feet into the ground, with a large concrete beam across the top and 144 ground anchors connected around 100 feet into the ground to stop the land from moving.

A length of approximately 400 metres of road has also been fully rebuilt, while council staff have checked the entire length of the B6344 from Weldon Bridge to rectify any other defects which may have happened since the road was last used over three years ago.

Lord Beith, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed from 1973-2015, has welcomed the news that the road has reopened. He said: "People in Rothbury and along the Coquet Valley will be delighted that the road is reopen after such a lengthy closure. I am very pleased that the road is now safe to use and am particularly grateful to Danny Alexander, who, as Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the Coalition Government, visited the landslip in January 2013 and ensured that Northumberland County Council received £5million towards the repairs from the Department of Transport's Local Pinch Point Fund. Northumberland County Council has had to respond to the challenge of a major reconstruction with an estimated overall cost of £10million."

Recent repairs being carried out along the stretch.
The damaged road, pictured in December 2014.
Recent repairs being carried out along the stretch.