Contractors, council staff and councillors at the stretch of the B6344 which is re-opening to traffic

Rothbury road repair scheme finished ahead of holiday weekend

Major engineering works to safeguard a stretch of road between Weldon Bridge and Rothbury for future generations have opened ahead of schedule and under budget. 

The scheme to tackle the active landslip at Todstead on the B6344 will open from 6pm on Thursday, March 28 - ahead of the busy Easter Bank Holiday weekend following a hugely complex engineering project involving a number of different construction techniques. 

And such has been efforts to try and safeguard the road over the years, the existing asphalt was found in places to be over five metres deep due to repairs that have been carried out since the 1970s! 

Now, using state of the art engineering techniques, teams have: 

  • Constructed 180m of sheet pile walls using the largest section piles available driven to a depth of 16m. These stabilised the slope so that remaining works could be carried out safely 

  • Installed de-watering wells up to 40 metres down to relieve water pressures at a deep level. 

  • Put in drainage at surface level on the slope to intercept water that might otherwise enter and weaken the slope. 

  • Re-aligned the southern embankment of the river Coquet to discourage future erosion. 

  • Removed and reconstructed the road to the west of the site away from the river's edge with an improved alignment that will also improve the safety of the road and reduce any loadings to the existing embankment. 

Teams have also replanted five times as many trees as had to be removed during the re-alignment of the road. 

As the project was in the River Coquet Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), environmental concerns were at the forefront of the work. 

Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet Member for Local Services at the County Council, explained: “We’re delighted to have completed this extremely complex engineering scheme ahead of schedule and the busy Easter weekend – and come in under budget. 

“Not only is this great news for visitors, more importantly we’re re-opening a key road for residents and I want to thank everyone for their continued patience over the past year – it has been very much appreciated. 

"It was vital we did this repair work to avoid losing this section of road altogether in the future and all the measures put in should safeguard this stretch of road for future generations.” 

Gareth Farrier, Divisional Director at BAM, said: “The complex engineering and environmental challenges presented by this scheme have been carefully and collaboratively tackled from day one, allowing the road to open ahead of schedule and before the busy Easter Bank Holiday.  

“This is an important outcome for residents and visitors, which includes many members of the project team. Safeguarding this essential route with a long-term solution has been a key focus for every partner and to reach this milestone early demonstrates a determined commitment to improving outcomes for the people of Northumberland in the most efficient way.” 

While the road is now re-open, contractors will have to return to the site in the near future to complete some minor works. 

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