Shropshire Star

Landslip repair saga on road linking Shropshire and Powys set to stretch into fourth year

Hopes that a major road linking south Shropshire and into Wales could be repaired before the fourth anniversary of a major landslip have been dashed.

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Councillor Heather Kidd at the A490 landslip

The A490 Chirbury to Churchstoke road suffered a huge landslip in 2020 following a period of intense rainfall, so much so that a precipitous drop was revealed on one side of the road.

It meant a barrier being constructed around the drop and the two carriageways reduced to one and controlled by traffic lights. The A490 connects Welshpool with Bishop's Castle, Clun and Knighton.

Local councillor Heather Kidd was cock-a-hoop only a few weeks ago when Shropshire Council told her that they were looking to undertake the repair between April and September 2023.

Now though the work timetable has, like the side of the road, slipped away.

And now it looks like the traffic lights could still be in place FOUR YEARS after the slip.

Councillor Kidd said: "I will be collecting black balloons so that Chirbury with Brompton Parish Council and I can celebrate a very sad fourth birthday if necessary next February.

"The Highways Department recently came to us to ask about a road closure between April and September this summer - yet the basic work to make this happen had not even been completed!

"This is truly appalling internal communication. Why does the council use consultants who simply let us down on important schemes like this? Everyone starts planning towards this closure just to be left not knowing when it will go ahead - this year or next."

Shropshire Council has confirmed that the timetable has slipped and "are likely" to slip to late 2023/early 2024.


A spokesman confirmed: "We are still optimistic that the remedial works can be delivered within the new 2023/2024 financial year but works are likely to slip to late 2023/early 2024."

The council's consultant WSP is currently finalising a feasibility study for the remedial works. It includes looking at alternative options, timescales and construction costs along with requirements for disruption to road users and the local community.

But the council spokesman said plans to obtain crucial ground investigation and topographical survey information suffered delays gaining access to an adjacent field to undertake these surveys.

"This work was completed in summer 2022," said the spokesman. "Further delays have since been incurred whilst our term consultant has engaged with competent contractors to discuss potential solutions, understand buildability issues and physical constraints that could influence the final design solution."

One of the solutions involved a retaining wall piled solution with tied-back ground anchors. But high costs meant rethinking and "look at a more pragmatic and cost effective solution."

The spokesman added: "The council and WSP have recently reviewed the progress made and, whilst certain aspects of the study could have been delivered quicker, it will take a little longer whilst we investigate the alternative option of a bespoke precast concrete cantilevered ground beam solution."

They now say a final feasibility study will be issued to the council by the end of March 2023.

"Therefore, taking into account realistic timescales for the feasibility study, detailed design and procurement of the works, it is unlikely that works will be carried out between April and September 2023," the spokesman said.

Consultation with key stakeholders and cross border Permit/ Streetworks teams will be required over the coming months as a road closure will inevitably be required to carry out the works with a lengthy diversion extending into Newtown via the A489, A483 and A490.

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