Creative canal solution sees Old A40 reopen

Published
18.11.2020

Spoil from a canal near Stroud has been used to help repair a road in the Cotswolds – saving the county council £700,000.

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The Old A40 near Northleach, also known as Prison Copse Wall, has been closed since autumn 2015 because of damage caused to the wall supporting the highway and cracks appearing in the carriageway.

The cost of repairs was estimated at more than £800,000.

However work on the A38 Canal Bridges project at Whitminster has provided a creative solution to prevent further movement of the retaining wall and risk of landslips.

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.

This has enabled savings of £700,000 and meant that the carriageway of the Old A40 could be fully reconstructed.

The 4.2km link road, which connects the A40 with the A429, will reopen 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.”

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