Stoke Fleming road closure ‘extremely disruptive’
Cracks close the road (image courtesy of Devon County Council)
Dartmouth Road unexpectedly cordoned off
The closure of a main road in Stoke Fleming, due to a crumbling perimeter wall, is likely to be ‘massively disruptive’, according to a local councilor.
Devon County Council said it could not confirm when the A379 Dartmouth Road will reopen, after it was unexpectedly closed on Tuesday night after a large crack appeared in a judged five-metre boundary wall dangerous.
The wall, along the road, is owned by nearby residents who are working with the county council to secure it.
However, it will need to be disassembled by hand before plans are drawn and engineering approvals agreed before it can be rebuilt.
Julian Brazil, South Hams Lib Dem adviser for Stokenham Ward, said there would be huge problems this summer if action was not taken quickly.
“It’s going to be massively disruptive,” he says.
“We can probably just about cope outside of holiday periods, but if it’s closed over the holiday season, it’s going to be absolutely unbearable.”
Cllr Brazil added that the work may need to be done in two stages to keep traffic flowing.
“It’s no small job, but hopefully what we can do is find some sort of temporary solution to get the road open by the summer holidays.
“Once those are done, we’ll close it in October and do the full job by then.”
Councilor Stuart Hughes, a member of Devon County Council’s cabinet for motorway management, said they had no choice but to close the road.
‘Public safety is paramount and this section of the A379 had to be closed due to the risk presented by the crack in this high wall,’ he said.
“Motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible as this closure will unfortunately cause delays.”
Cllr Brazil accepts there will be delays but says everything must be done to resolve the issue quickly.
As the wall is private property, it is the responsibility of the inhabitants to pay for the reconstruction work.
However, if funding for the work was an issue, Cllr Brazil says he would be happy for the county council to subsidize it, if allowed.
“As a city councilor, my priority is to open it as soon as possible,” he says.
“So I understand there could be complications – but if they said ‘if we have £50,000 we can open next week’ my advice would be, well, spend it!”
A signed diversion is in place via A379 Torcross, Kingsbridge, A381 and A3122 Hemborough Post, A379 and vice versa.