Work to clear one of the vital links in the re-instatement of the Keswick to Threlkeld multi-user path has been completed ahead of schedule.
Cubby Construction, the contractors carrying out the work on the pathway for the Lake District National Park Authority, broke through The Big Tunnel, which is located under the A66 flyover near Low Briery on Friday, and has now cleaned out the tunnel ready for use.
Company owner Tommy Cubby admitted the clear out had not been straightforward, and told the Keswick Reminder: “The tunnel was filled with a lot of material on site which was left over from the A66 flyover. We had to bring down a machine from Manchester to install metal sheets as temporary support until all the material could be removed, but that was not that unexpected for a civil engineering project.”
Photographs released by Cubby Construction this week show the tunnel was full to the brim with rubble and other materials before clearance work got underway.
Mr Cubby said staff had managed to work through the lockdown period by observing strict social distancing measures, which now means that all the larger engineering projects on the former railway line, including the installation of two new bridges have now been completed.
He added: “We are sitting comfortably now with so much of the project completed thanks to our staff who have been working very hard. We are on target and can see nothing to cause concern or delay. We hope the footpath will be open on time.”
Mark Eccles, Lake District National Park head of park management, said: “Work on the reconnection of the Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Trail is progressing well and is on schedule to be completed this year
“Our project partner, Cubby Construction, have this week safely cleared out the Big Tunnel and will be laying the concrete slab in the base of the cofferdam on the west side of the tunnel over the next week or so. Everything has gone according to plan.
Mr Eccles added: “As is normal practice, our main contractors can choose to subcontract some elements of their work, in this case, the pilling work to form the cofferdam. And in-keeping with all civil engineering projects an appropriate contingency allowance for additional necessary work exists within the overall project budget.”