Bath & North East Somerset Council last night voted to approve a further £660,000 for repairs to the landslip-hit Kelston Road after it emerged that the problem goes much deeper engineers had thought.
The total approved budget for the project now stands at £2.66m and the council is lobbying the Government to help with the cost.
An emergency report to the council explained: “Following emergency repairs, further investigation work has been completed by the appointed contractor and the authority now needs to undertake more comprehensive works to prevent a collapse, stabilise the road and reopen it to all traffic.”
Council leader Cllr Paul Crossley said: “The council’s engineers have been working flat out on the repairs to Kelston Road. It has now emerged that below the land which has already moved, there is another layer of ‘soft’ rock which is also at a risk of sliding.
“A new scheme has been designed which will require two rows of deep piling to ensure that future landslips are prevented. The safety of members of the public who will use the repaired road is of paramount importance to us and for the long term.
“The council has funded the scheme so far through borrowing, however, we have been lobbying and will continue to lobby the Government for funding to help pay for the scheme.
“We are continuing to do everything we can to reduce the impact of the ongoing road closure, including working alongside Mr Watts, the proprietor of the temporary toll road. Kelston Road will reopen, and the works are still on schedule to be completed by Christmas.”
North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has this week written to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin asking for money to help B&NES fund the works.
He told him: “I am sure you can appreciate the disruption that the works have caused to this area, especially commuters, and I am therefore writing on behalf of my constituents and the constituencies belonging to Don Foster and Chris Skidmore who have been affected by the closure.
“Ultimately we are jointly seeking financial support from the Department for Transport in the hope of expediting the works.”
As we reported earlier this week, more than 40,000 vehicles have used the private toll road since it opened last month, bypassing the section that has been closed since February.