An iconic Lakeland pass will re-open to traffic this weekend following a four week closure for essential road safety improvements.
A section of Kirkstone Pass between Brothers Water and the Kirkstone Inn was shut between 5 and 30 June for the works as part of an ongoing Department for Transport (DfT) ‘Safer Roads Project’.
The 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 also 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.
The 24-hour, seven day a week closure during June was required so contractors Metcalfe Plant Hire Ltd could install large concrete cantilever bases for the new crash barriers, which required excavating large sections of carriageway to over 1.2 metres deep at 77 locations, installing reinforcement cages and pouring tonnes of concrete, as well repairing 269 metres of drainage.
This part of the scheme was completed on schedule and the road will re-open to traffic tomorrow morning (Saturday, 1 July).
Councillor Peter Thornton, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet member for Highways and Assets, said: “A huge amount has been achieved this month and we are making real progress with these important works.
“Obviously it is not possible to work on the pass during the winter months due to the weather and we have taken care to schedule any full closures around the busiest school holiday periods. We recognise that such schemes cause some disruption in the short-term and we apologise for any inconvenience caused, but they are necessary to improve the long-term safety of the A592 route.
“Not only will the road be in better condition it will also be better protected from flooding and other weather-related impacts in the future and 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.’’
To allow for the works to continue before the school summer holiday temporary traffic lights will still be in place on sections of the road from next Monday, 3 July, for the next two weeks but the pass is open to both vehicles and cyclists during the day.
The route will be closed overnight only (between 9pm and 7am) from Monday, 3 July, for the same two week period.
During the night-time closures, the road will be completely closed which means that vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists are not permitted to access the area between 9pm and 7am and barriers will be in place to ensure the safety of the public.
Under the current programme there will be no works taking place under the Safer Roads scheme on Kirkstone Pass after Saturday, 15 July, until Wednesday, 6 September. This is to ensure that the road is clear throughout the busy school summer holidays.
Works will recommence from 6 September but the road will remain open with temporary traffic lights in place until the next scheduled full closure, which will now be for a maximum of three weeks starting on 2 October. The road will re-open ahead of the school half-term holidays at the end of October.
This next full 24-hour closure was moved from September to October following feedback from residents and businesses in the local community.
During the October closure the contractors will be excavating the entire width of the carriageway to support its full reconstruction.
An additional road closure is scheduled to take place from 1 March 2024, in order to complete the resurfacing work. This closure be over three weeks, subject to weather conditions.
More information about the Safer Roads scheme at Kirkstone Pass, including answers to frequently asked questions and details of diversion routes, can be found on the website.