A LANDSLIP which has forced the closure of a main road into a Northumberland village is likely to see it shut for a number of weeks, council bosses have warned.
The B6344 near Rothbury was closed by highways authority Northumberland County Council on Boxing Day following a series of slips which caused part of it to collapse.
The authority has now said it expects the road to be closed for a number of weeks. It has also revealed “a significant engineering solution” will be required to address the slip.
Four incidents of landslip were reported within a 300m stretch of the road – one of the main routes in and out of Rothbury and used by visitors to National Trust property Cragside – at Cragend, from Boxing Day.
The land has continued to move since and part of the road – the village’s main link to Morpeth – has collapsed. It is thought heavy rain was the cause.
The council closed the road between Pauperhaugh and Rothbury, then began an investigation into the damage and assessing what repairs will be needed.
Engineers have been carrying out regular inspections of the section of road since. People travelling into Rothbury have to use the B6341, off the A697 from Morpeth, at New Moor House crossroads.
The Journal reported yesterday how concrete barriers have been erected at the site after it emerged motorists were moving bollards and driving past the closure.
Business bosses also said the diversions are causing problems for customers getting in and out of Rothbury. The county council last night revealed it expected the road to be closed for weeks.
Coun Alan Thompson, the council’s executive member for highways, said: “This issue was brought to our attention on Boxing Day when a member of the public reported mud on the road into Rothbury.
“Our engineers went out to investigate, realised the potential danger and closed the road immediately.
“This speedy action ensured that members of the public are protected from what has become a very serious landslip which has since seen sections of the road slide towards the river.
“The problem will require a significant engineering solution after an investigation into the stability of the road and adjacent embankments.
“We have seen exceptional rainfall and during 2012 and, unfortunately, this landslip is one of the more serious implications.
“I want to reassure people that we will be working as quickly as we can to determine what work is required, and will also be working with local businesses and residents to do as much as we can to mitigate the impact of this essential closure.”