Bath & North East Somerset Council is forging ahead with its on-site work to permanently repair the A431 Kelston Road, following a landslip, so it can reopen later this year.
Preparation works, including setting up the site and installing fencing began on-site last week and the Council – working closely with its highway maintenance contractor Skanksa – is planning to work continually on the project until completion so that the road can be reopened before Christmas.
Cllr Paul Crossley (Lib-Dem, Southdown), Leader of Council, said: “Now that we’ve been able to determine the ground affected by the landslip has stabilised, we’re delighted to get moving with the detailed repairs required to fully reopen the A431 Kelston Road.
“Bath & North East Somerset Council’s priority has always been to achieve a permanent solution which means we need not suffer such problems in the future. This first phase involves fencing off the land to keep livestock away from our works, stripping off topsoil and constructing an access route with stone platforms.
“These platforms will be used in phase two by the drilling rigs to bore deep concrete piles which will support the ground in future.”
Cllr Caroline (Lib-Dem, Newbridge), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “We have every sympathy with road users, residents and businesses that have been affected by the Kelston Road closure.
“We are working hard to ensure that the repair works carried out are as effective, efficient and practical as possible. We are committed to keeping the public informed and will be giving local residents and schools etc the chance to visit site and inspect the works at certain stages so that the public can see first-hand the extensive works being undertaken.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council is committed to ensuring the scheme is delivered in the shortest possible time. The land only recently stopped moving which was a pre-requisite before work could begin.
The Council has asked all utility companies to complete any planned work on the Kelston Road during the road closure period in order to avoid any disruption after the works are completed.
A route will be retained for pedestrians and cyclists throughout the course of the works.
Officers involved in achieving a permanent solution to the Kelston Road landslip recently held a public meeting to give an update on the significant progress being made with the project and will post regular updates and details of the repairs on the website www.bathnes.gov.uk/kelston.
The project brings a number of significant logistical challenges due to the size, type and specialist equipment required as well as the considerable volume of material required to complete the work.
The extensive repair work falls into four main categories:
- Construct the temporary works to enable access for all the equipment and materials
- Drill and construct deep concrete piles.
- Rebuild the road, improve the drainage and resurface the road.
- Remove the equipment and reinstate the adjacent land. (To ensure the road reopens at the earliest opportunity, some ground reinstatement will be programmed for after the road reopens.)
The engineering work is designed to deliver an optimum scheme which is capable of handling the area’s traffic in all weather conditions and be completed in the shortest practical time for a permanent solution.
In order to complete the Kelston Road repair works, the contractor will need to site drilling rigs on both the existing carriageway and in the field adjacent to the land slip. The work includes:
- Approximately 4,000 tonnes of stone will be needed to construct an access and platform on the sloping ground to enable the drilling to be undertaken;
- Deep concrete piles, up to 600mm in diameter, will be drilled down as far as 15 metres below the existing ground surface to support the new road. Smaller mini piles will also be installed in the field front of the existing wall to support the retaining wall;
- The piles will be made from reinforced concrete with metal cages – they will be constructed off-site and transported soon after so that they can be lowered into place while the concrete is still wet;
- Material taken from the site or used to construct the temporary platforms will be recycled and used on other engineering projects.
The news comes as work on a private toll road past the A431 closure continues, with a field above the A431 landslip now dug out and ready for the installation of metal tracks for vehicles to use.
Following the news of the planned toll road being opened in August, Bath and North East Council said: “The Council is not in a position to support the temporary road option as we have not been provided with any evidence/information to support the application.
“A temporary toll road requires Planning Permission and no application has been received. In view of public concerns the Council’s Planning Enforcement team are currently investigating this matter.
“The Council has no details to confirm the toll road design meets safety standards and no evidence that insurances are in place for any member of the public who use the private toll road.
“The Council will need to bring in many vehicles to construct the permanent repairs and the temporary toll road access is likely to generate a need for more traffic management on site, prolong the construction period and increase the cost of the repairs.
“The Council has already considered – with the support of independent engineering consultants – a bypass road on the south side of the closure, where it would not increase loading above the land slip. This was not considered viable to progress.”