Forest of Dean landslip road will stay shut but repairs due to begin

Forest of Dean
Image caption Gloucestershire County Council said full repairs are due to take place throughout December and January

Repair work on a busy commuter route through the Forest of Dean is due to begin, a year after it was shut following a landslip.

Businesses along Hawthorns Road through Drybrook said they were suffering financially and urged Gloucestershire Highways to speed up the work.

The county council said progress had been delayed because the slip is next to a high pressure gas main.

Soil nailing will begin in December, with all work complete by February.

"We (have) carried out significant topographic and ecological surveys to work out the state of the bedrock and ground conditions and this all takes time to complete," said local highways manager Brian Watkins.

Diversions in place

The council said it expected to spend about £150,000 on the repair project.

The work will involve drilling a grid of reinforced steel bars into the slope and the bedrock below the road for about 100 square metres (1,076 sq ft).

Once this soil nailing is finished, the slope face will be protected with steel mesh to prevent future erosion.

Councillor Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways, said: "I know how difficult this road closure has been for local people and businesses.

"This is a huge job and with the added complication of a high pressure gas main, we have to make sure we get it right."

Gloucestershire Highways said it had investigated the possibility of re-opening one lane with temporary traffic signals while the work is going on.

"Unfortunately, the ground conditions suggest that any loading on the road may impact on the high pressure gas main," said a spokesman.

"Public safety has to be the priority, so for now the road must remain closed with the current diversions in place."

The official diversion route is via the A4136 to Huntley then A40 towards Ross.

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