The B5289 down Borrowdale from Keswick is closed for emergency repair work from this morning. The busy road along the east side of Derwent Water is shut both ways at the point where the side road climbs up to Watendlath.
A Cumbria County Council highways team had been attempting to carry out £60,000 repair work on a retaining wall at the side of the road. Originally only one lane of the road was due to be closed, but once the team started work the saturated foundations of the road began to fall away, and it soon became clear that even one lane could not remain safely open while the repairs are made.
The extent of the work means that the road is likely to be fully closed to motorised traffic for around six weeks, says Cumbria County Council. Only pedestrians and dismounted cyclists and horseriders will be able to pass through while work is ongoing.
For popular valley crags like Shepherds, the usual road access looks likely to prove a bit of a hassle.
An official diversion takes traffic on a roundabout route via Whinlatter, Buttermere and the Honister Pass. There is of course an alternative, and the council anticipates increased traffic along the back road via Portinscale and underneath Cat Bells to Grange. Mind how you park down here while the main road is closed – there will be increased vigilance for unsuitably parked cars on this minor road, says the council.
Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for highways, said:
'We appreciate that this is a popular, well-known road and its full closure will be inconvenient for those who traditionally rely on it as the main access route to Keswick and essential services. While we did all we could to do this essential work on the retaining wall and keep one lane open, we now know that this cannot be done safely. We will pull out all the stops to get the work done as soon as we can and keep our fingers crossed that the weather will be kind as this will help with the time it takes.'