Cumbria

Flood-damaged A591 in Cumbria 'should reopen by end of May'

A591 near Thirlmere
Image caption Part of the A591 near Thirlmere was washed away after Storm Desmond flooding

A key stretch of a Lake District road which was washed away during Storm Desmond should be reopened by the end of May, the government has pledged.

A three-mile (4.8km) section of the A591 was closed between Dunmail Raise, north of Grasmere, and Thirlmere, after damage caused by the December storm.

Visiting the site, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said Highways England would oversee the project.

Council bosses said reopening the route was "critical" to the area's economy.

The government has pledged £40m for rebuilding local transport infrastructure in flood-affected areas of Cumbria and Lancashire.

Temporary road

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 under way to repair this major route between Grasmere and Keswick."

Cumbria County Council leader Stewart Young added: "Getting this road reopened and fully repaired is critical to Cumbria's economy and we already know the extent of the impact closure is having on residents, and particularly on businesses.

"Now we have a date for repairs being completed our businesses and our residents will be able to plan properly for the future.

"In the interim we are working on plans to have a public transport link in place to connect Keswick and Grasmere by the start of February, which will utilise a temporary road we are constructing up the east side of Dunmail Raise. This will be in place until the full road reopening."

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