25th July 2012
SEATON: Old Beer Road closure 'serious blow' to town
By Anders Larsson
Highway bosses say it is unlikely that Old Beer Road can be repaired and reopened.
The road collapse made headlines last week and structural engineers and geotechnical experts have been busy examining the scene since.
Speaking on Friday, county councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet member for Highways and Transportation, said: “The geotechnical and structural surveys are still on-going but local people who have seen the road and how it has fallen away will realise that it is looking increasingly unlikely that the road could be repaired and re-opened to traffic.
“However we will be considering in more detail what could be achieved in this area, even if it’s just maintaining the coastal footpath, but this will require further inspection.
“In the meantime I would like to remind everyone that this road is closed for the safety of the public.”
County and district councillor Jim Knight commented: “This is a serious blow to Seaton and Beer who rely on this route to walk in safety to the amenities and schools that either parish send their children to, and it is also a route for holiday visitors.
“I sincerely hope that the coastal walk can be retained.
“If not, the county council must look at providing safe passage to either parish even if this means putting in a footpath along Beer Road through to Beer.”
Experts have found that the movement on Old Beer Road has been caused by a large scale slip of the cliff face rather than a small localised failure, according to a county council spokesperson.
The spokesperson also said: “Most of the material has slipped down onto the beach, which has been closed by East Devon District Council, and also rolled over onto the lower cliff slopes, covering the top surface of the rock armour on the beach.
“Their findings have highlighted that the kerbing either side of the collapse also now appears to have moved as a small crack has opened up between the road surface and the kerb.
“They also inspected the cliff from beach level and it is apparent there have been many recent minor slips of the cliff face from the Chine westwards.
“Further soil investigation will have to be carried out before the experts complete their report, and Devon County and East Devon District councils are looking into the possibility of extending the survey eastwards to Chine.
“The South West Coast Path has been diverted from the route and diversion signs remain in place.”
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