In each of the last 3 named storms, trees at Apesdown Cuttings – an area commonly known as Swainston – have fallen onto the highway. In the last storm, Storm Ciara, a tree came down and went through the windscreen of a passing vehicle. Any passenger in the vehicle would have been killed instantly as a branch penetrated through into the rear compartment.
In consultation with the Isle of Wight Council, Island Roads have decided to close the section of road until Storm Dennis passes, at which point any action needed to remove trees or branches that pose a safety risk will be taken.
While the road will be closed as a through-road from Calbourne to Newport, access to properties and businesses including the Blacksmiths Arms will be maintained. The road will be closed between Elm Lane and Betty Haunt Lane.
As previously reported by Island Echo, a yellow weather warning is in force for the Isle of Wight this coming weekend.
Dave Wallis, Island Roads operations and maintenance manager said:
“Residents will be aware that there have been several serious incidents recently involving trees falling onto the highway at this location. Following emergency works that were undertaken this week due to damage sustained from storm Ciara, we commissioned a specialist bat survey, the outcome of which has indicated that we can proceed with further works that will be required.
“However, given the forecast of Storm Dennis arriving this weekend, we have taken the decision to close the section of road through Apesdown Cuttings as a precautionary measure while the winds remain strong and until we can safely complete our works.
“The actual timing of this closure will depend on the weather and we will obviously seek to minimise disruption while at the same time prioritising the safety of those using the network.
“We will announce details of the closure prior to it coming into force but based on the current forecast this is likely to be on Saturday morning at 9am.
“With the recent incidents, we hope residents and regular users of this road will appreciate the need to close the road is in the interest of public safety. Our works will resume once the storm has passed and it is safe for us to complete them.”