04 November 2013
Almost £4m of funding is required to provide a permanent solution to the Landslip on the A67, Low Carlbury, High Coniscliffe/Piercebridge road.
The news comes after the completion of recent ground investigations. These showed that the area affected by the landslip extends beyond the two active landslips that have caused the road to be closed and then partially closed since February this year.
Investigations by geotechnical experts have shown that a 387m section of the A67 embankment is very unstable. The experts have considered a range of solutions and the preferred option is a Soil Nailing solution over the full length of the unstable embankment. This involves installing a number of long anchors into the embankment and under the road to stabilise the bank.
The cost for this work is estimated at almost £4m. With this in mind, Darlington Borough Council has acted quickly to bid for money through a new central government fund called Pinch Point. A pot of £55m is available nationally through the Department of Transport. News of the fund was announced in October of this year with closing date for applications set for 31 October.
The feasibility and investigation work undertaken by the Council with Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) has resulted in an application being submitted to the fund for £3,919,617 in total. This is made up of a proposed contribution of £878,000 from Darlington Borough Council and £596,000 from Northumbrian Water Limited, with the remainder sought from the Pinch Point Fund. NWL is a partner in the bid undertaking works that allow the Council to work on the embankment.
Councillor David Lyonette, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport said: “There will be immense competition nationally for this funding and Darlington Borough Council has presented a strong strategic and commercial case to the Department for Transport. Darlington is the Gateway to the Tees Valley and Barnard Castle is the Gateway to Teesdale, with the A67 as main transport route between these sub-regions.
“A permanent solution to this situation will solve a number of issues. It will give road users peace of mind and reduce travel times for more than 8,000 vehicles a day. It will help protect business and local jobs and also protect the water supply to a large number of homes across Teesside.”
It is hoped that an announcement regarding the funding application will be made in December 2013. If funding is not secured through this application the Council will need to revisit options. However, given the present economic position the Council faces and the scale of the works, the Council could be faced with maintaining the status quo i.e temporary traffic signals and 30mph speed limit with the potential risk of closure.
For further information, please contact the Darlington Borough Council’s Communications Unit on (01325) 406058 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Kath Bloomfield/Michelle Parkes
In February 2013 an initial landslip was identified on the A67 single carriageway road. After ground investigation works the road was re-opened with traffic lights, reduced speed limit and the re-distribution of water supply, underpinned by regular monitoring of the embankment. The risk remains that the road could be closed at any time if monitoring identifies road deformation or movement, particularly at times of high rainfall.
The headline facts from the application are below:-
• Darlington is the Gateway to the Tees Valley and Barnard Castle is the Gateway to Teesdale, with the A67 as main transport route between these sub-regions. The proposed scheme fully restores the A67 and thus the transport connectivity.
• The benefits of the scheme would be realised immediately since it will remove the current constriction on the local strategic road network and provide increased certainty to local businesses, residents and all road-users.
• The economic case shows likely benefits of £4.554M in the first year after completion. With a total scheme cost of £3,917,617 (DfT contribution £2.445M, Local and third party match of 37%) and an expected life span of 60 years the proposed scheme demonstrates excellent value for money.
• The scheme will sustain economic growth by protecting existing businesses, maintaining access to jobs and education.
• The scheme will also remove the potential for severance of communities from services; providing a direct route for emergency vehicles (A&E hospital) and ensure that local people can access services such as schools, leisure, tourism, employment etc.
• The scheme proposed encapsulates the strategic direction set out in ‘DfT - Transport an Engine for Growth” – “We need Good Transport – to make our economy stronger and our lives easier” – the present scenario of a failing transport infrastructure is contrary to this direction of travel.
The benefits include:
• Fully restoring access on the main route linking Darlington to Barnard Castle and Teesdale to make the economy stronger and lives easier.
• Benefits to resilience of NWL water supply.
• Reducing travel time for more than 8,600 vehicles per day. Improved journey reliability.
• Benefits to the local economy as the A67 is an important route for commuters and businesses.
• Social benefits, in particular for people accessing health and education services.
• Increased resilience of the highway network, providing an alternative east –west route to the A66.
• Ensuring that the Highways Agency has a strategic diversion route in line with our Network Management duty;
• Safeguarding existing jobs and introducing certainty to encourage growth.
• Protecting local businesses, in particular those along the A67 itself.
• Support Tourism links and destinations.
• Support the Rural Economy.
Potential Construction milestones
The Department for Transport Pinch Point Fund is time limited with and Funds having to be spent by March 2015. This dictates the following milestones that have been submitted as part of the application.
Start of works May 2014
Start of NWL works May 2014
Completion of NWL enabling works September 2014
Start of A67 stabilisation works October 2014
Completion of soil nailing Feb 2015
Completion of drainage, gabion wall, Vehicle restraint system, road reinstatement. April 2015
Completion date April 2015
Note: The Project will require periods of full road closures. At this stage these are not finalised and will not be until the Design is complete and contractors have been engaged.