Leader calls for urgent green light on repairs to Shropshire road damaged by landslip

A leader fears that the cost of repairing a road damaged by a landslip nearly three years later will spiral even higher if nothing is done to fix it soon.

Heather Kidd on the busy A road
Heather Kidd on the busy A road

The landslip on the A490 that connects Welshpool with Bishop's Castle, Newtown, Clun and Knighton, happened during heavy rains in February 2020 and included the frightening sight of mature trees slipping down an 80ft drop into a river valley below.

Councillor Heather Kidd says things are happening behind the scenes to arrange work but fears it could take at least another year before the complex work is completed. She fears the bill for repairs could stretch into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Councillor Kidd said: "I have been putting pressure on the council, almost from day one on this one.

"I know it’s a difficult and expensive problem to fix but the process seems now to be stretching out to infinity.

"We have been promised a number of options by council contractors any time now."

She added that swift action is now needed to solve the issue.

"What we need is for the Council to take some swift action to solve this problem. Local residents and businesses have suffered enough. I am not wishing it many happy returns!" said Councillor Kidd.

The councillor said that a deluge in 2002 sent water pouring across the road and into the river valley, taking some of the side of the road with it. And whenever it rains, she fears more damage being done to undermine the carriageway.

One of the two lanes was closed off and traffic lights were put up, which posed its own problems.

"We had people jumping the lights and that caused both of them to be stuck on red," she had. "At first they were only battery powered and they kept failing.

"Now at least we have temporary permanent lights that are powered by electricity and mean highways staff don't have to be called out so regularly," she said.

A plan to fix it was on the drawing board but Councillor Kidd said a promise of developments on the subject failed to materialise before Christmas.

Now she fears that the route used by heavy lorries, tractors and other busy traffic between important settlements in both England and Wales will have to be closed completely to allow it to be fixed.

"It is a real pain in the neck, less of a pain since the traffic lights were changed, but something has got to be done about it.

"Every time we have heavy rain the water pouring across the road, causing more damage."

Councillor Kidd intends to raise the issue with the council's ruling group as she suspects the main issue is a lack of funds, despite the authority aiming to press ahead with the north west relief road for Shrewsbury.

"Since the landslip in February 2020 we have had a number of studies and some lengthy discussions but little action on an actual repair," she said.

"All we have had is a set of semi-permanent traffic lights which have cost the taxpayer a significant amount over the last few years. There are also continuing costs every time contractors are called out to replace barriers knocked over by traffic."

Shropshire Council has been asked to comment.

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