A series of meetings between Isle of Wight Council officials has concluded that Undercliff Drive will remain fully closed to all motorists due to the risk of the patched up road failing, posing a risk of a serious incident.
As previously reported by Island Echo, local residents took matters into their own hands last week spending a total of 2 days rebuilding the collapsed carriageway to allow vehicular access to landlocked properties on Undercliff Drive. However, fearing the road could collapse and with the work having been carried out without permission, the Isle of Wight Council arranged for Island Roads to place water barriers across the road to prevent residents driving on the homemade surface.
Now, following a day of meetings at County Hall in Newport, Cllr Phil Jordan, Executive member for public protection and highways PFI, has said in a statement:
“We are sympathetic with the situation the residents find themselves in, and we have held a number of meetings today after Sunday’s site visit to consider all the options available.
“We took legal advice, and also considered expert technical advice from both Island Roads and independent consultant engineers Ramboll UK. Regretfully we have been informed that if vehicles continue to use the road, there is a danger the highway could fail without warning.
“We did explore the possibility of residents agreeing to limited use of the road, but unfortunately, this is not possible as the council would continue to be liable for any serious incidents.
“Reluctantly, this means the level of risk is too great and the road will have to remain closed to vehicles”.
Cllr Jordan continued:
“We are making arrangements to facilitate the delivery of essential supplies to residents, such as heating oil, ahead of and during the winter period, and pedestrian access will also be maintained.
“As previously stated, the council is currently drafting a report into future options at The Undercliff and this will be considered at a meeting of the Executive at the earliest opportunity.”
The independent report by Ramboll concludes:
“As a result of the inspection, we cannot recommend that the road is used by vehicular traffic due to the potential of new pavement damage and unpredictable further landslips.
“Pedestrian and cyclist access can be maintained by creating a route 1.5 metres wide from the existing northern kerb. The passing place should also be monitored for further movement due to the likelihood of settlement induced cracking in the short term at this location. This section of the works may also need to be closed off if significant movements are observed”.