Moving the Coast Road - detailed plans published on saving 'at-risk' route between South Shields and Sunderland from coastal erosion
The A183 Coast Road, which cuts through The Leas between South Shields and Whitburn, could be moved away from crumbling cliffs to give it a longer lifespan.
A study carried out in 2019 at ‘critical pinch points’ highlighted that parts of the route are likely to be compromised in the future, because of ongoing erosion of the cliff face and cave formations.
To safeguard the route for future generations, council chiefs are looking to reposition the highway between the historic Lime Kilns and the caravan site, near Marsden Grotto.
This would move the road away from the clifftop at the tightest point, with the existing road returned to grassland.
The realignment is expected to extend the lifespan of the coastal route by around 50 years, with a longer-term option being explored once the new road is in place.
In addition, the current provision of a segregated footway/cycleway on the east side will be maintained along the realigned section.
Councillor Mark Walsh, lead member for housing and transport, has urged residents to share their views on the proposals.
“The A183 is a popular route with both residents and visitors as it showcases our stunning coastline,” he said.
“Currently the future of the road near Marsden Grotto is at risk due to coastal erosion and the formation of caves.
“However, our proposal to realign this section [near] Marsden Grotto will protect the route for years to come, whilst being sympathetic to the area’s natural and historical features.
“We have a preliminary design and we’ve produced a video showing how the repositioned road would look.
“We hope this will be informative but if anyone has any further questions or feedback, they can get in touch with our project team.”
The council appointed consultant Capita to produce a preliminary design which has allowed investigations to take place ahead of the submission of a planning application – which is expected later this year.
Measures have already been taken to ‘roll back’ the coastal path to a safe location away from the cliff edge in conjunction with the landowner, the National Trust.
Subject to planning approval and the development of a detailed design, the Coast Road project could start in early 2022.
An environmental impact assessment is also being prepared to ensure the Lime Kilns site is not “adversely affected.”
In the meantime, the council is giving people the opportunity to ask questions and comment on the plans. The deadline for comments is Friday, February 26.
A video explaining the proposed scheme has also been made available.
More information can be found at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coastroad.This will be updated regularly as the project progresses.
Alternatively, the council’s coast road team can be contacted directly by phone (0191) 427 7000 or by email: [email protected]
There will also be a presentation about the project at the East Shields and Whitburn Community Area Forum at 6pm on Thursday, February 11.
To watch live, visit: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/watchcouncilmeetings