Work starts on A591 repairs

Work to repair the storm-damaged A591 in Cumbria has started.

Highways England has been brought in by the government to restore the road, to enable it to be reopened by the end of May. Last month, Kier Highways was appointed as the main contractor for the project to rebuild the A591 at Dunmail Raise, which was washed away in the storms during December.

A 22-tonne excavator is among the equipment being used on the site, and construction work has started on a new concrete retaining wall in the beck at the side of the collapsed part of the A591.

The government has made £40 million available to help repair roads and bridges in Cumbria and Lancashire, including the A591.

The vital Lake District tourist route, which stretches between Grasmere and Keswick, has been closed between St Johns in the Vale and Dunmail Raise since December following significant damage caused by storms Desmond and Eva.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are determined to reopen the A591 as soon as possible, and I am pleased the people of Cumbria can see we are making progress.

“Tourism is a vital part of the local economy, so fixing this road will make a real difference to the region.”

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “We’re determined to stand squarely behind communities whose lives were turned upside down by the recent floods – including getting key infrastructure back up and running.

“That’s why we’re pulling out all the stops to get the A591 fixed so Cumbria’s main road can be open for business in time for the summer holiday season, for the benefit both of tourists and of local residents.”

Work on the second section of damaged road further north is also underway. A helicopter survey is due to take place shortly, which will provide detailed technical information about the stability of the scree slopes adjacent to the A591.

Other survey information is also being used to identify what repairs are required to storm drains, bridges and the road surface so that the A591 can fully re-open by the end of May.

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