Flooding on A590 was 'unprecedented and not due to drainage issues'
FLOODING which closed the A590 for almost eight hours was caused by a sudden heavy downpour of rain and not any underlying issues, highways bosses have said.
The crucial road was closed between the A6 for Levens and the A591 at the Brettargh Holt roundabout at around 1.40pm yesterday.
Highways England patrols had been poised to deal with any flooding on the strategic road network but the sudden heavy rain caused an "unprecedented" amount of surface water to gather on the A590.
Motorists were forced to use local diversions and the A6 to access the M6 motorway and beyond.
The road did not reopen fully until 9.15pm and the closure led some motorists to question if the location was set to become a regular flooding hotspot.
A spokesman for Highways England said engineers attended the scene once it was reported by police.
He said: "This is not an area where we have had problems before – indeed we were very surprised to hear it had been affected but of course there was a band of rain spreading quickly across the county and bringing heavy localised flooding in several places.
"The issue at Brettargh Holt was unusual to say the least – if not unprecedented.
"We were aware of a yellow rain warning for the county and responded to that by mobilising six patrols across the area to respond to the weather when it arrived.
"We had teams working across two shifts dealing with incidents and this was the only closure on the strategic network.
"We have a rigorous maintenance and inspection regime, including gully clearance, in place and the drainage was not an issue – the problem was more to do with the sudden and sheer volume of water.
"We worked with Cumbria police throughout the closure to assess the situation and reopen each carriageway as soon as it was safe to do so."
Although a yellow weather warning is in place for more rain tomorrow, it is not expected to be as heavy across south Cumbria as yesterday's downpour.