Kelston Road is now open again!

Bath & North East Somerset Council is delighted to announce that the A431 Kelston Road officially re-opened at 6am on Monday 17 November – following months of exhaustive work to permanently repair damage caused by a severe landslip which closed the road in February.

The Council – working with its highways contractor Skanska – has been able to complete the mammoth repair and ground stabilisation works before Christmas, as promised from the start, meaning vehicles can freely use the A431 between Bath and Bristol without disruption.

The Council Leader, Cabinet Member for Transport and local ward councillors joined members of the local community and the team from Skanska to officially reopen the road on the Kelston Park side at 6am on Monday morning, and let the first vehicles through. Bus services resumed their normal routes soon afterwards - with the first bus through being the 6.20am from Bath on service 319.

Councillor Paul Crossley (Lib-Dem, Southdown), Leader of Council, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have reopened the road on Monday 17 November – we promised local people that we would achieve this before Christmas, and we’re incredibly proud of all our officers and contractors who have pulled out all the stops to achieve this monumental task. Bath & North East Somerset Council’s priority has always been to achieve a permanent solution to this problem.”

The landslip repair work and rebuilding of Kelston Road has been a huge project for the Council and its highway maintenance contractor Skanska.  It has cost in the region of £2.6 million and involved drilling concrete piles down as far as 15 metres below the existing ground surface to stabilise the land and support the new road.

Councillor Caroline Roberts (Lib-Dem, Newbridge), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “We have had every sympathy with road users, bus passengers, residents and businesses that have been affected by the Kelston Road closure. Our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the repair works carried out have been as effective, efficient and practical as possible – and they should be commended for their remarkable work. We are also delighted that as part of this project we have brought forward plans by over a year to improve the road surface in Kelston village.”

The extensive repair work falls into four main categories:

  1. Construct the temporary works to enable access for all the equipment and materials
  2. Drill and construct deep concrete piles.
  3. Rebuild the road, improve the drainage and resurface the road.
  4. Remove the equipment and reinstate the adjacent land. (To ensure the road reopens at the earliest opportunity, some ground reinstatement will be programmed for after the road reopens.)

The engineering work is designed to deliver an optimum scheme which is capable of handling the area’s traffic in all weather conditions and be completed in the shortest practical time for a permanent solution.

Work involved

In order to complete the Kelston Road repair works, the contractor will need to site drilling rigs on both the existing carriageway and in the field adjacent to the land slip. The work includes:

  • Approximately 4,000 tonnes of stone will be needed to construct an access and platform on the sloping ground to enable the drilling to be undertaken
  • Deep concrete piles, up to 600mm in diameter, will be drilled down as far as 15 metres below the existing ground surface to support the new road. Smaller mini piles will also be installed in the field front of the existing wall to support the retaining wall
  • The piles will be made from reinforced concrete with metal cages – they will be constructed off-site and transported soon after so that they can be lowered into place while the concrete is still wet
  • Material taken from the site or used to construct the temporary platforms will be recycled and used on other engineering projects.

What is the background to the problem?

Torrential and prolonged rain at the beginning of the year led to a landslip on the A431 near Kelston Manor. The area had previously suffered from landslips. The road was closed for safety reasons. Inspections by engineers discovered the damage was serious and would require a major repair scheme before the road was safe to re-open.


What has been happening since the A431 closed?

The Council’s first priority was safety and that meant a road closure to ensure users were not at risk. Indeed the land only stopped moving in May and so no work could begin until it had stabilised sufficiently. The Council sought a range of options from experts on how to reinstate the road. Alongside that it commissioned geological surveys to get a proper picture of what went wrong and what kind of repairs were required. It also looked at who could best deliver a permanent solution.


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