All roadworks on Kirkstone Pass were removed at the weekend and no work will be carried out under the scheme until 6 September, meaning the road will be fully open during the busy holiday period.
The ongoing Department for Transport (DfT) ‘Safer Roads Project’, which is being managed by Westmorland and Furness Council, includes building new drainage and culverts, resurfacing and installing new safety crash barriers and ‘catchpits’ to collect scree washed off the fells. More than 200 metres of new stone walling has so far been created, along with improved signage and three new lay-bys.
The work will help to protect the road from the effects of flooding and adverse weather and increase the safety and resilience of the route, especially during winter, resulting in fewer enforced closures in the future.
Careful planning means the works are being scheduled around the busiest school holiday periods, to minimise the impact on tourism businesses in one of the most popular areas of the Lake District.
When the works recommence in September the road will still remain open to vehicles, with temporary traffic lights in place until the next scheduled full 24-hour a day closure, which will now be for a maximum of three weeks starting on 2 October.
The road will re-open again ahead of the school half-term holidays at the end of October.
The 24-hour closure starting on 2 October was moved from the original September dates to October following feedback from residents and businesses in the local community. They requested the switch because September can still be busy with visitors.
The full closure is required in October so contractors can excavate the entire width of the carriageway to support its full reconstruction.
Councillor Peter Thornton, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet member for Highways and Assets, said: “This is an important project after which the road be in better condition and will also be better protected from flooding and other weather-related impacts in the future so will be less prone to winter closures.
“All that is good news for the local communities and businesses that rely on this route and I want to thank them for their continued support and patience, while we carry out these improvements.
“We are working closely with the local community and businesses in the area to try to minimise disruption caused by this essential safety work.
“This includes ensuring we keep the road open during the peak visitor times around school holidays, including summer and October half-term.
“We have regular contact with representatives from businesses and the local community and have responded to their requests, including rescheduling the next full closure from September to October after listening to their feedback.
“This is a complex project being carried out in a restricted location. It is obviously not possible to work on the pass during the winter months due to the weather, but we are taking great care to plan our work around the busiest school holiday periods.’’
Following the October full closure an additional road closure is scheduled to take place from 1 March 2024, in order to complete the resurfacing work. This closure will be over three weeks, subject to weather conditions.