Road where falling rocks are posing ‘risk to life or injury’ has to close for a month to make it safe again

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A road in Gwent where motorists face “risk to life or injury” from falling rocks is to be closed for a month for essential safety work.

Part of the A466 St Arvans and Tintern is being closed for a full month by Monmouthshire County Council in order to carry out “essential safety works” on the rock which faces the roadside.

The council said this week that work to “protect road users from dangerous rock fall” will start on April 6, and is expected to require a full closure of the road for four weeks.

Following this period it is expected there will be a further two-week period during which there will be a single lane closure, with traffic lights controlling passage through this section of the road.

The council said it was awaiting final approval from Welsh Government to begin the works and was “making every effort” to complete the work “in the shortest time possible.”

Dimitri Batrouni, Labour councillor and leader of the opposition at Monmouthshire County Council, said he welcomed attempts to ensure the safety of the road, but said a long-term solution was needed in order to avoid constant closures.

“This is a long, ongoing issue for residents,” he said.

“Certain sections of the land are unstable, and in moments of rain or inclement weather, pieces of rock become loose and fall.

“The land is a risk to life or injury and it is unacceptable, and I welcome measures to ensure safety for members of the public.

“But temporary ad-hoc measures and partial closures of different parts of the road, which have been going on for many months now, will only go so far.

“In other countries I have seen, for example, metal netting put in front of rock near roads. This is something that might be appropriate to ensure the long-term safety of the area.

“But we need to defer to experts and have all the agencies involved find a long-term solution to this.

“There are often parts of the road reduced to a single lane, it is a lingering issue. It slows people down and is an annoyance for people who have to take detours to get to where they are going.”



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Councillor Jane Pratt, Monmouthshire County Council cabinet member for Infrastructure, said: “It is essential that we undertake these important safety works as efficiently and quickly as possible. We are making every effort to ensure that the works are started early April and completed in the shortest time possible.

“It will however be subject to final approval from Welsh Government and contractors being able to meet the resource required to complete the works safely owing to potential impact of Covid-19 on their workforce.

“We have had to time the works to avoid disturbing bats while they are hibernating. We appreciate the inconvenience that the road closure will bring to residents travelling through the area, but we must undertake this essential work to keep road users safe. There will be a diversion in place, details of which will be widely publicised nearer the time, and we are grateful to the local community for their patience and understanding. We will be continuing to work with local businesses to support them as needed.”

Further details of the road closure, including the diversion route, will be available on the council’s website prior to the works commencing.



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