Safety first approach to the A57 Snake Pass reopening
A ‘safety first’ approach is at the heart of Derbyshire County Council’s decision to reopen the A57 Snake Pass with on-site monitoring continuing to protect all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians.
The road was temporarily closed last month following a battering from Storm Eunice and Storm Franklin. The storms caused 3 sections of the road surface to drop, in one area by around 2 metres, leaving major cracks to the road surface and the risk of further landslips.
Following ongoing inspections and monitoring, the road has reopened to traffic with three temporary single carriageway restrictions at Gillott Hey, Alport and Wood Cottage. Traffic will be controlled by temporary traffic lights and a 20mph speed limit will be in operation.
To minimise any further damage to the road at the site of the landslips, HGVs over 7.5 tonnes will be asked to follow a signed diversion route using the A6013 / A6187 / B6049 / A623 / A6 / A6015 / A624 and vice versa.
The road will continue to be monitored using a hi-tech portable laser scanner to check for any further significant movement. Analysis shows that the movement of the road has considerably slowed to less than 20mm in the past week, giving engineers the confidence to reopen the road to cars and vehicles less than 7.5 tonnes.
During the temporary road closure, the Derbyshire County Council has used the opportunity to carry out general resurfacing works, pothole repairs and has rebuilt retaining walls damaged by February’s storms. Cracks in the road surface caused by the landslips have also been repaired using bitumen to create a flexible seal.
Historical records suggest that landslips have taken place along the Snake Pass with closures dating back at least 90 years.
Cabinet Member for Highways Assets and Transport, Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal said:
“I’d like to thank everyone who usually uses the Snake Pass for their patience during the temporary road closure.
“We recognise many road users rely on this route for their businesses and day-to-day work. Following very careful monitoring of the road during the past 4 weeks believe we have a sensible approach to reopen the road while keeping all road users safe.
“The temporary traffic lights will enable us to protect the part of the road which has moved from any further damage. The drier weather will also help to significantly reduce the risk of any further landslips giving us time to monitor and identify a solution to repair the road, which will require Government funding.
“We have a responsibility to keep people safe on our roads which means that if we detect any further movement or risk of a landslip once the road reopens, we will, unfortunately, have to close the road.
“Please help us help you by allowing a little extra time for your journey, showing courtesy to other road users and keeping to the new temporary speed limit.”
The 12-mile section of the A57, known as Snake Road, is one of the highest roads in the Peak District and is used by more than 30,000 vehicles each week including 1,500 HGVs.