Creative canal solution sees Old A40 reopen at Northleach

A40 Northleach

The Old A40 near Northleach, also known as Prison Copse Wall, which has been closed since autumn 2015 because of extensive highway damage has reopened, thanks to a creative solution.

With the cost of repairs estimated at more than £800,000, it looked like it could stay closed for a lot longer, but work on the A38 Canal Bridges project at Whitminster near Gloucester provided the answer to prevent further movement of the retaining wall and risk of landslips, and enabled savings of £700,000.

Spoil from the canal excavations was transported to Northleach and used to strengthen the wall and fill in the land beside it to provide support.

Preparations included the installation of extensive land drainage and the deposit of 15,000 cubic metres of clay material to provide solid support for the wall along a 60m distance.

The 4.2km link road, which connects the A40 with the A429, reopened to two-way traffic from 19 November.

Mark Darlow-Joy, highways contract manager at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The reuse of this material from the Cotswold Canals scheme for the stabilisation of a failing retaining wall and reopening of a road closed for five years is a perfect example of where smart thinking can provide a huge gain for all. It’s a win win!”

Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways, said: “This is a smart money-saving solution that has enabled the Old A40 to be reopened. It’s great to see the spoil from the A38 Canals project used in such an innovative way and I’d like to thank our highways engineers for all the hard work they have put in to achieve this.”

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, county councillor for Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach, said: “After all the lobbying it is really great to see the Old A40 back in full use again. Thanks from me to the 500 people who signed the petition to reopen this road and to highways for their hard work in making it safe. It shows that patience and persistence pays off in the end.”