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Confirmed: A591 to re-open on May 13th

The damaged A591 Credit: ITV Border

It's been announced that the A591 will re-open on May 13th.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, made the announcement during a visit to the damaged road.

Huge parts of the road, which is main route linking the North and South Lakes, were washed away after Storm Desmond hit the region in December.

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A591 expected to re-open by mid-May

The A591 was severely damaged during Storm Desmond Credit: ITV Border

The Transport Minister is expected to announce that the A591 will open by the middle of May during a visit to Cumbria today.

Patrick McLoughlin is visiting the section of road which was washed away during Storm Desmond in December.

The A591 is the main arterial route linking the North and South Lakes, and it's estimated that the economy has been losing around £0.5 million for every day the road has been closed.

It was originally estimated that the road would re-open on May 21st.

Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin Credit: ITV Border

A591: what repairs are taking place?

Repairs are taking place today. Credit: Highways England.

Work got underway to repair the A591 today, after the road was damaged by December's storms.

Here's what needs to be done to fix it:

  • Preparatory work and some preliminary construction work has already been taking place at Dunmail Raise
  • A new concrete retaining wall is being built in the beck
  • Once this had been built, the gap in the road caused by the storm damage will be backfilled with crushed stone
  • A new road surface will then be laid on top
  • A new wall will also be constructed using local stone in front of the retaining wall

Work on the second section of damaged road further north is also underway.

A helicopter survey is due to take place shortly, which will provide detailed technical information about the stability of the scree slopes adjacent to the A591.

  • Get the latest on the repairs here

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Transport Secretary pleased with A591 progress

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin Credit: PA

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin says he is pleased with how repairs on the A591 are coming along, and hopes the road will re-open as soon as possible:

We are determined to reopen the A591 as soon as possible, and I am pleased the people of Cumbria can see we are making progress.

Tourism is a vital part of the local economy, so fixing this road will make a real difference to the region.”

– Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin

Highways England defend A591 repairs timetable

Highways England has begun work to rebuild a damaged section of the A591, at Dunmail Raise.

Parts of the road collapsed during the floods of December 2015.

Our reporter Katie Hunter spoke to Andy Withington, of Highways England:

This is the start of the repair of the A591 at Dunmail Raise. We're working on building the foundations for a retaining wall, which will be adjacent to the watercourse, and then we'll be back for filling to get the road reestablished in the next few months.

– Andy Withington, Highways England

Many local people and businesses who have relied on the road, have complained that repairs for damage that happened in December 2015, have taken too long to get underway.

ITV Border reporter Katie Hunter put these concerns to Andy Withington:

We've been working with Cumbria County Council since January, so that's only five weeks. We've managed to get a contractor here over the last few weeks and we've started works today on the actual construction.

We've been working with designers to ensure the designs are appropriate, permanent repair, and we've got three months to effectively build and reinstate 120 metres of road - so that's quite a challenge, and a short time to build it in."

– Andy Withington, Highways England

Council explains time taken to begin A591 repairs

Work began today. Credit: ITV Border

Work is underway to repair the A591 - a major route connecting the north and south of the Lake District - after it was severely damaged by December's storms.

When asked about why it's taken this long for the repairs to begin, Keith Little, Cumbria County Council's Highways Portfolio Holder, said it's taken a lot of work to get this far:

It's just the amount of work that has to be dealt with, and Highways England have got to go through their own procedures, contractors had to be a found, a design had to be agreed, and then safe working has to be agreed."

– Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council
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