The key A591 route in Cumbria, which was severely damaged in last December’s storms, has fully re-opened.
Highways England worked with Cumbria CC on the project to repair a four-mile stretch of the road, which links Grasmere to Keswick, blending improved resilience with the picturesque environment.
A new 106 metre retaining wall has been constructed at Dunmail Raise, north of Grasmere, where part of the road was washed away.
Environment minister and Cumbria MP Rory Stewart, who took part in the re-opening ceremony, said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be able to open this road on behalf of the Government. We took over this project – unusually – because of the extreme flood damage. I am delighted Highways England has managed to do this at such high quality in very difficult circumstances.’
He added: ‘We are showing the country, and the world, that Cumbria and the Lake District are back open for business.’
Repairs have also been carried out on three bridges, seven other retaining walls and 91 drains alongside Thirlmere reservoir.
Pictures of the road after the storms - and now
A total of 44,000 square metres of the road has been resurfaced and netting has been fitted along a 90 metre stretch to prevent rocks falling onto the road.
Steel posts drilled into the riverbed and large concrete panels were used to create the new retaining wall. A total of 2,500 tonnes of concrete was then poured behind the panels up to a height of 3.5 metres, before the new road surface was laid on top.
Local stonemasons covered the concrete wall with over 300 tonnes of stone –reclaimed from flood debris – to ensure it blends in with the surroundings.
The new wall is intended to provide greater protection to the road from the effects of erosion.
Construction teams worked seven days a week to repair the road and over 100 workers from – mostly local – specialist contractors were working on the project at its peak.