Northumberland road to be closed for 10 weeks as landslip works move to next phase

The latest phase to develop a long-term solution to the cracking in the road between Weldon Bridge and Rothbury will get underway at the end of April.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 3:01 pm

The historic problem on the B6344 at Todstead arises from the complex combination of the underlying geology of the valley, the weak soils, water pressure within the underlying rocks and erosion by the River Coquet.

Detailed monitoring and investigation has been on-going for some time and Northumberland County Council has carried out deep drainage works to reduce ground water pressures which has been successful in minimising movements over a longer length of the slope.

Over recent months geotechnical design consultants Atkins have taken the lead in identifying a long-term solution to this movement and cracking.

The B6344 at Todstead.
The B6344 at Todstead.

Now engineers need to take forward extensive ground investigation works which will mean the B6344 bottom road into Rothbury being closed for ten weeks.

Rick O’Farrell, the council’s interim executive director of local services, explained: “A road closure is always a last resort when carrying out works, but it is unavoidable in this instance.

“We had to complete the previous detailed ground analysis and secure the necessary permissions for this work and clearly we wouldn't have wanted to do it during the winter months due to the concerns regarding the alternative route over the moor during bad weather conditions.

“We also don’t want to leave it until later in the year when we will face increased risks to the successful completion of the works due to the typically wetter autumn weather.

The geology of the area between Weldon Bridge and Rothbury.

"It’s essential the works are not delayed so that the final solution can be designed and implemented to minimise the risk of a major landslip at Todstead which would result in the road having to be closed for a much longer period of time.

“We understand the county is slowly starting to open up again following the pandemic and we will be clearly signposting the alternative route into the town which is already used by a lot of visitors.

“In reaching our decision we considered carefully the potential impact on local businesses. We concluded that the diversion is modest, and people who wish to visit Rothbury for leisure or other reasons would not be deterred by an additional four-mile drive on what is arguably a nicer road."

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