The main road into Borrowdale from Keswick is to be closed for emergency repair work from 10am on Monday 10 February.
The B5289, which skirts along the east of Derwent Water and is the main access road for communities along Borrowdale including Grange, Rosthwaite and Seatoller, will have to be closed both ways at the point where the side road climbs up to Watendlath.
A Cumbria County Council highways team had been attempting to carry out £60,000 repair work on a retaining wall at the side of the road. Originally, only one lane of the road was due to be closed while the work was carried out as the county council recognised the importance of retaining access and put in place traffic management measures to keep one lane open.
However, once the team started the work to replace the retaining wall, the saturated foundations of the road began to fall away (see links to pictures at bottom) and it soon became clear that even one lane could not remain safely open while the repair work is carried out.
The extent of the work necessary means that the road is likely to be fully closed for around six weeks. Highways teams would not have sufficient room to safely work if a lane remained open and the structural safety of the road would also be under question. Only pedestrians and dismounted cyclists and horseriders will be able to pass through while work is ongoing.
The official diversion will be over the Honister Pass and then via Buttermere, Lorton and Whinlatter. The council also anticipates increased traffic along the back road via Portinscale and underneath Cat Bells to Grange – so there will be increased vigilance for unsuitably parked cars blocking this popular tourist road while the closure is in place.
The council’s school transport team is liaising with bus operators, Keswick School and Borrowdale Primary to ensure that suitable interim arrangements are in place for next week.
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for highways, said: “We appreciate that this is a popular, well-known road and its full closure will be inconvenient for those who traditionally rely on it as the main access route to Keswick and essential services. While we did all we could to do this essential work on the retaining wall and keep one lane open, we now know that this cannot be done safely. We will pull out all the stops to get the work done as soon as we can and keep our fingers crossed that the weather will be kind as this will help with the time it takes.”