Pic: Bristol City Council

Major access road into Bristol closed due to landslip

One the main routes into Bristol city centre has been shut after part of it collapsed into the river. Cumberland Road takes traffic from the Cumberland Basin to Redcliff Hill along the banks of the River Avon. A section near Gas Ferry Road and the entrance to the ss Great Britain has suffered from subsidence for some time but has now collapsed threatening further damage and closing the road.

The problem began in 2017 when a smaller section sank and was cordoned off but the road remained open. A burst water main may well have triggered the latest collapse.

Tristan Cork writing for Bristol Live reported: “Council contractors are expected to be working round the clock to stabilise and assess the wall of the New Cut River Avon in Bristol this weekend, as Cumberland Road remains closed tonight (Friday, January 24). And the man in charge of the situation, cabinet member for transport Kye Dudd, has warned people it is likely to be ‘into next week’ that the road will be closed.

“The embankment wall on the northern side of the River Avon collapsed last night, taking the Chocolate Path and some of the Harbour Railway with it, leading to fears for the safety of Cumberland Road itself. The path and the railway were closed in late 2017 because of an underground landslip in the side of the river bank, and council chiefs were about to choose which contractor should have the £9 million job of repairing it, when the entire wall collapsed.

“Bristol Live understands the experts on the ground are still assessing the situation and it is too early to say how long it will take to make sure the road is safe, and it could be a considerable length of time. The job of assessing whether the road is safe right now will take days, and the earliest the road could be reopened to traffic is likely to be next week. However, if the assessment is that there is still the possibility of further collapses, and the road is unsafe, then it could well be a case of weeks or months before the road is reopened.”

Bristol City Council’s Cllr Dudd said: “Engineers have been assessing the site all day and will continue to be there over the weekend,” he said, on Friday afternoon. It is likely the road will remain closed into next week whilst these investigations take place and work is carried out to make sure the site is safe.

“I want to reassure residents and businesses that there are no immediate issues for them to be concerned about and we will provide a further update once investigations are complete.”

Tristan Cork reported: “Answering social media criticism that no work had been carried out since the issue was identified in 2017 when the path was closed, Cllr Dudd said they had been working hard in the two years to sort it out.”

Cllr Dudd said: “We are a harbour city, with some walls that date back over a century. We’ve had concerns about the stability of the path for some time which is why the decision to close it was taken in 2017. Since then we’ve undertaken in-depth reviews of the path, surrounding infrastructure, tidal and harbour have been assessed. Cabinet has agreed over £9m of funding to reinstate the wall, the path and the heritage railway that runs alongside it.

“Plans were already being drawn up for these repairs and potential contractors were in touch about taking on the job. It’s too early to say what impact these events will have on the planned repairs but we are looking at all options. Our first priority is to make the area is safe and understand what the long term impact is with all the information to hand before any further decisions are made,” he added.”

Tristan Cork reported that Bristol Water confirmed they had been called to reports of a burst water main under Cumberland Road at the spot next to the collapse on Thursday morning.

Something similar happened in Bridgwater in 2011

Those with long memories will recall Bridgwater’s West Quay collapsing on Carnival night in 2011 after heavy rain – and it took two years to repair it at a cost of around £2m.

For more details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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