Press release

A591 retaining wall starts to take shape

A591 retaining wall construction making good progress.

Contractors are making good progress in constructing a new retaining wall as part of the vital project to repair and reopen the A591 in Cumbria.

The road was badly damaged in December’s storms and Highways England has been brought in by the government to restore the route so that it can be reopened by the end of May.

A new 106 metre retaining wall is being built in the beck alongside the part of the A591 which collapsed – a distance which equals the length of a football pitch.

Retaining wall construction img

Contractors have installed steel supporting posts and concrete panels along 35 metres of the new wall so far. Stone masons have also started putting local stones reclaimed from the flood debris along the wall to cover the concrete, and ensure the wall blends in with the local surroundings

Concrete will be poured behind the concrete panels up to a thickness of 3.5 metres before a new road surface is laid on top. Once completed, the wall will provide greater protection to the road from the effects of erosion.

At Thirlmere, camera surveys of the drains underneath the southern section of the road have been completed and repairs have started on the damage identified.

David Pluse, Highways England’s project manager for the scheme, said:

We have made significant progress and the latest photographs from the construction site show how the wall is taking shape.

Our contractors are also forging ahead with other work and have started repairs to the storm drains alongside Thirlmere after carrying out camera surveys. Good progress is being maintained despite the difficult working conditions and continued unpredictable and inclement weather.

We are continuing to work closely with our contractors and Cumbria County Council to do all we can to get the A591 repaired and re-opened as soon as possible, following the extensive damage caused by December’s storms.

The vital Lake District tourist route, which stretches between Grasmere and Keswick, has been closed between St Johns in the Vale and Dunmail Raise since December following significant damage caused by storms Desmond and Eva.

The main construction work to repair the A591 started last month following the appointment of a contractor, surveys and some preliminary work on the site.

Drivers, businesses and local residents can stay up to date by visiting the scheme website where they can also sign up to receive email updates about how the project is progressing.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.