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Source: Aisle of Wight

13 Jun 2019

A consultation on the reinstatement of Undercliff Drive to traffic is being launched by the Isle of Wight Council.

The local authority is seeking the views of residents, businesses and visitors on possible plans to re-open the road which suffered significant landslips in 2014.

The council is proposing to work with leading geotechnical consultants to design a scheme to reinstate the A3055 between Ventnor and Niton.

A consultation is being launched to gauge public opinion.

Council leader and a local ward member, Councillor Dave Stewart, said: “My view is it cannot be beyond our engineering capability to find a way to remedy a landslip of less than 100 metres.

“We have houses and business spread along the length of the Undercliff but the economic damage of the closure has spread well beyond these areas with businesses as far away as the West Wight also noticing a drop in trade and tourism following the closure.

“However, while my personal views and that of the Cabinet are clear, we acknowledge others may take a different view and this consultation seeks to gauge public support for the plans.”

Undercliff Drive was affected by major ground movement during the very wet winter of 2013/14.

The landslides led to the loss of the road at two locations, land-locking nine homes between the two sites.

In 2016, access was restored to these properties along with through-access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

The cost of producing a design to re-open the road to traffic is estimated to be around £200,000, and would involve topographic surveys, ground investigation boreholes, a stability analysis and an environmental impact assessment.

Currently, the cost to re-instate the road is estimated to be between £1 million and £2 million, dependent on whether the scheme allowed one or two-way traffic and if the new route was restricted to vehicles below a certain weight.

The council has acknowledged that ground movement will continue in the future and any investment in the area will need to take this into account.

Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, added: “It’s a complex issue that doesn’t lend itself to a quick solution, but my view is the Island needs to have this road open and we should be making every effort to do so despite the obvious challenges.

“However, any decision will only be taken after consultation with Islanders and we are encouraging everyone to get involved.”

A six-week consultation will start on Friday 14 June 2019 and end on 26 July 2019. People are encouraged to complete the survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/UndercliffDriveConsultation2019  

Factfile

  • The council is proposing to work with leading geotechnical consultants to design a scheme to reinstate the A3055 between Ventnor and Niton.
  • Undercliff Drive was affected by major ground movement during the very wet winter of 2013/14.
  • The cost of producing a design to re-open the road to traffic is estimated to be around £200,000.

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