Snake Pass, the Derbyshire road that has been closed for the past month due to damage caused by landslides, will reopen to motor vehicles from tomorrow afternoon with a temporary 20mph speed limit and weight restrictions in place.
> Snake Pass now “belongs to cyclists” as Peak District climb closed to motorists for at least a month
Opened as a toll road in 1821, the road carries the A57 between Sheffield and Manchester, although nowadays the Woodhead Pass carries the main route between the two cities.
Three locations on a mile-long stretch of the road between Glossop and Ladybower Reservoir were affected by landslides caused by Storm Eunice and Storm Franklin in February, with the road surface in one place dropping by around two metres, and major cracks also appearing on the road surface.
Since the road closure, cyclists and walkers have taken to the route, especially at weekends, to enjoy it in the absence of motor vehicles, and local residents have also welcomed the recent peace and quiet.
> It’s not just cyclists loving the Snake Pass closure – local residents do too thanks to the peace and quiet
Derbyshire County Council says that in reopening the road, it is adopting a “safety first” approach and that it will continue to monitor it in the interests of the safety of all users, including people on foot and on bikes.
Three temporary single carriageway restrictions will be put in place at Gillott Hey, Alport and Wood Cottage, with temporary traffic lights installed and a 20mph speed limit in operation.
Meanwhile, drivers of HGVs of 7.5 tonnes and above will have to follow a signed diversion route.
The council says that movement of the road has reduced to below 20mm over the past week, and that engineers will use a portable laser scanner to check for any future significant damage.
While the road as been closed, the council has also carried out resurfacing works as well as repairing potholes and rebuilding walls that were damaged during the storms in January.
Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Assets and Transport, Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal, commented: “I’d like to thank everyone who usually uses the Snake Pass for their patience during the temporary road closure.
“We recognise many road users rely on this route for their businesses and day-to-day work. Following very careful monitoring of the road during the past four weeks believe we have a sensible approach to reopen the road while keeping all road users safe.
“The temporary traffic lights will enable us to protect the part of the road which has moved from any further damage. The drier weather will also help to significantly reduce the risk of any further landslips giving us time to monitor and identify a solution to repair the road, which will require Government funding.
“We have a responsibility to keep people safe on our roads which means that if we detect any further movement or risk of a landslip once the road reopens, we will unfortunately have to close the road.
“Please help us help you by allowing a little extra time for your journey, showing courtesy to other road users and keeping to the new temporary speed limit,” he added.
According to the council, the 12-mile section of the road is used by 30,000 motor vehicles each week, including 1,500 HGVs.
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