Locals and visitors could face a 27-mile overnight diversion as safeguarding work is carried out alongside the Borrowdale Road between Keswick and Rosthwaite in the Borrowdale valley.
Cumbria County Council will be carrying out the work under temporary road closures in three phases during night time hours to minimise disruption to the travelling public. However, a start date for the works is yet to be confirmed and once this has been agreed advanced road signs warning drivers will be in place.
The diversion route will take drivers on the unrestricted section of Borrowdale Road, Whinlatter Pass, A66 and back into Keswick via High Hill. A way for pedestrians and cyclists will be maintained at all times and emergency vehicles will have access through the closure.
The work is needed following a detailed inspection in June last year on rock faces which run alongside the road. A number of issues were highlighted and, although they could not be classed as an emergency, remediation works were required.
Work will include: targeted removal of self-seeded saplings on the rock faces; removal of self-seeded saplings from the highway verge; light descaling of rockfaces to remove loose debris; rock bolting large sections of rock which have the potential of becoming unstable; removal of individual blocks which cannot be bolted; re grading a short section of soil slope at The Howe, Rosthwaite to prevent material falling onto the highway.
A county council spokesman said: “We have worked closely with National Trust and Natural England as the sites form part of the Borrowdale Woodland and River Derwent and Bassenthwaite Special areas of Conservation.”
A second three-week emergency road closure has also been put in place on the Newlands Valley road, but it is hoped the route, which is popular with tourists, could re-open before the Easter holidays.
An emergency road closure was originally put in place on 10th February following the discovery of a storm-related landslip at the carriageway edge. This resulted in the failure of a significant section of a retaining wall adjacent to a culvert and the resulting void, considerable drop and unsupported section of carriageway was considered a potential threat to safety.
Cumbria County Council highways staff have been working on the area, and the foot of the wall has been cleared and foundation work is complete. The rebuild of the wall will be carried out under two phases with phase one, a concrete block construction, largely complete.
The more time-consuming phase of work will be the like-for-like construction of the masonry (slate) facing, which entails retrieving the stone from the embankment and preparing it for re-use, with scaffolding required for the upper section of rebuild.
Significant drainage improvements will be incorporated into the rebuild and a timber safety fence constructed at the top of the wall. A smaller landslip has also occurred along the valley and this will be made safe.
The council spokesman added: “It is estimated a further three weeks before completion and the carriageway re-opening.”