Timescale slips for Northumberland landslide repairs

Work started on the landslip repairs at Crag End earlier this year. Picture by Jane Coltman
Work started on the landslip repairs at Crag End earlier this year. Picture by Jane Coltman

The B6344 road to Rothbury, which has been closed since 2012 due to a landslip, is likely to remain shut until early 2016 due to an issue with the repair work.

The landslip started on Boxing Day in 2012 and worsened during the following winter and spring, since when the B6344 at Crag End has been closed to all vehicles and pedestrians.

Elements of the £9million scheme are progressing well and are ahead of schedule and Northumberland County Council will be keeping local communities updated with developments as work progresses. Repair work will be continuing over the summer months.

While the construction works were planned to be completed by November this year, technical difficulties on one aspect of the work means it may now be early next year before the road re-opens.

Coun Steven Bridgett, who represents Rothbury and Coquetdale, said: “Having visited the site last week, it is obvious to see how much work has been carried out on the slip, the progress made to date was surprising given the cramped conditions on the site because of machinery and the amount of water being pumped out of the site each day.

“However, it is disappointing to learn that the scheme is being pushed slightly back, but attempts are being made by the contractors to bring that back in line by installing even more equipment onto the site as it is within their interests to do so.

“I had hoped to allow members of the public to visit the site and see progress for themselves, but this will simply not be possible given the congested working conditions on the ground, to allow that to happen would mean shutting down work on the site and for obvious reasons that is not practical to do so.”

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, added: “This is a very complex and challenging engineering project and it’s positive that some elements are ahead of schedule.

“We’ve always sought to keep the local community informed of progress and be upfront about any issues. One of these is difficult ground conditions that have created additional issues for the creation of a retaining wall, which are going more slowly than expected.

“We’re working with the contractor to try to address the issues as they arise and they’re putting extra resources into this aspect of the work, but their ability to do this is limited by the physical conditions on site. We will monitor the impact that the extra resources have on the rate of progress with this work over the next few weeks and this may mitigate the delays.

“However, at this stage it seems that the completion date for the works may slip from November 2015 into early 2016. While we all want the work to be complete as quickly as possible, it’s vital all aspects of the work are done to the highest standard and when finished will stand the test of time. We will continue to keep the local community informed on progress with the scheme.”