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Wednesday, 03 June 2015

A595 blockage leads to renewed causeway call

‘ROAD CLOSED’ and ‘DETOURS’ are traffic signs that A595 users have become all too familiar with.

Grizebeck Road Closure FarmerSITE: Michael Irving shows MP John Woodcock the damage to Dove Ford Farm. Inset, signs on the A595 near the Elliscales Roundabout heading towards Askam CHRIS WARNER REF: 50036607B000 AND JONATHAN LEE REF: 50036686B001

The main road between Barrow and Millom has been blocked since last Friday, after a barn wall collapsed at Grizebeck, making it unsafe for traffic to pass.

“We’ve had a lot of accidents that have shut the road for a period of time, but this one best highlights the problems with the road,” says Kirkby Ireleth Parish Councillor Ian Cragg, who has been campaigning for a causeway across the Duddon Estuary for the past decade.

“The road, from Askam right through to Millom, is a problem that is never going to go away.

“The road was built for horse and cart and it’s just not wide enough for the traffic we’ve got going through it.”

Continuous calls have been made for a road across the Duddon Estuary and in 2009, the Evening Mail launched its Revamp Our Roads campaign, which saw hundreds of motorists sign a petition calling on Cumbria County Council to tackle the A595’s problems.

A feasibility study was carried out into a road and tidal barrage across the Duddon Estuary by Britain’s Energy Coast in 2010, although a suggestion for a bridge was first made more than 150 years ago.

The report found tidal power generation is a possibility for the estuary and the project would cost around £720m.

The report says: “In addition to provision of a reduction in road journey times, reduction of accidents and improved protection against storm surges and sea level rise, additional benefits will derive from employment during construction and, to a lesser extent, for operation.

“A new road crossing also enhances development opportunities with improved access to potential developable land.

“This will also provide benefits for the local service economy, although there will also be negative impacts arising from disruption and adverse impacts during construction.”

Cllr Cragg said: “The only way to free the road up is to build a bridge across the estuary.

“All the councillors around the bay, from Barrow to Millom, have been working on this for years.

“The underpinning roads through Kirkby are not suitable for the traffic using them.

“They are built on slate foundations, they just poured it on in big heaps, so the surface is starting to crack as the slate moves.”

At present, motorists travelling from Millom to Barrow face a 14-mile detour around the blockage, with police advising traffic to use the A5092 from Grizebeck to Greenodd and through Ulverston. Kirkby Ireleth Parish Councillor Michael Irving runs Dove Ford Farm, where the collision happened last Friday. He said work started yesterday to clear the road and expects the work to take three days to complete.

In the meantime he says he faces the same problems as other motorists.

Cllr Irving, who believes a bypass should be built around his land to prevent future collisions, said: “We’ve got the same inconvenience as everyone else.

“The grass that needed bailing for winter feed for the cattle is on the opposite side of the closure to the farm’s storage unit. At the minute we would have to bring the feed all the way around through Ulverston, instead of just up the road.”

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