A591 to reopen in May

The storm-damaged A591 in Cumbria is set to reopen by the end of May, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

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 made the announcement on his second visit to the A591 in as many weeks.

Highways England has been brought in to deliver a full and permanent reinstatement of the road, to enable it to be reopened as soon as possible. They are currently overseeing the complex survey work required to fully identify any further measures required, over and above the repair needed at Dunmail Raise, to allow the road to be fully reinstated. Once identified, this work will be managed and delivered by Highways England and their contractors.

Kier Highways has been appointed to repair the section of the road which has collapsed at Dunmail Raise. The preferred contractor to deliver repairs to the A591 north of Dunmail Raise alongside Thirlmere will be announced following the completion of these urgent assessments.

Mr McLoughlin said: “Restoring the A591 is a vital part of our plan to get Cumbria back on its feet after the devastating floods caused by the recent storms. Tourism is an essential part of the local economy and I am pleased that work is underway to repair this major route between Grasmere and Keswick.”

Leader of Cumbria County Council Stewart Young said: “This is extremely welcome news and we are grateful to the minister and Highways England for taking on the full and complete restoration of the A591. Getting this road reopened and fully repaired is critical to Cumbria’s economy.”

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “We know that businesses and communities are anxious to see Cumbria’s A591 re-opened as quickly as possible and we’ve been working with the government, Kier and the county council to draw up the plans to achieve this.

“Kier staff know the county well and as they currently operate, maintain and repair the strategic road network in Cumbria on our behalf we think they’re very well placed to lead the project to rebuild this vital section of the A591.”

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