Work to start on moving the Coast Road at Marsden in bid to save route from erosion

Highways chiefs have confirmed the start date and details for a major project to move the Coast Road under ambitious plans to safeguard the route from erosion.

The project will see a 500m section of the A183 Coast Road, between Marsden Lime Kilns and the caravan site near the Marsden Grotto, moved 24m inland and away from the clifftops.

It comes after a survey in 2019 identified that parts of the route would be compromised in future due to the ongoing erosion of the cliff face, including the formation of caves.

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It is expected that the scheme will extend the lifespan of the coastal route by around 50 years. South Tyneside Council said a longer-term option will be explored once the new road is in place.

Work is due to start on realigning the Coast Road later in November 2022.

The scheme will get underway from Monday, November 21, and is expected to be completed next summer.

Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Transport and Neighbourhoods at South Tyneside Council and Chairman of the LGA Coastal Special Interest Group (SIG), said: “This scenic route is well used by residents and visitors, but it’s future is compromised in its current position.

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“Realigning the road and bringing it further inland in this location is essential for public safety. It will preserve this important route for decades to come while supporting the natural erosion of the cliffs in this area.

“The project has taken years of planning, with careful consideration given to maintaining the area’s natural and historical features. We are delighted to be in a position where we can now start on site.”

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Cllr Gibson said the coastal footpath on that stretch has already been ‘rolled back’ to a safe location and away from the cliff edge in conjunction with the landowner, the National Trust.

Now work will begin to move the road away from the clifftop at the closest point following the successful acquisition of the land in an exchange between the council and the National Trust and the appointment of contractor Howard Civil Engineering to deliver the scheme.

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The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation due to its proximity to local wildlife habitats and near Marsden Lime Kilns, a scheduled monument, and there had been some concerns raised.

South Tyneside Council said specialist survey and monitoring works will be undertaken throughout the scheme to ensure there is no adverse impact on the Lime Kilns.

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Council chiefs said wildlife habitats within the site boundary will also be reinstated once the road has been repositioned, with the existing road excavated and returned to grassland.

The existing cycle and bridleway will be maintained along the realigned section.

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The Coast Road route will remain open during the work, with two-way signals in place.

However, the council said it is likely that some overnight closures will be needed in the later stages of the scheme to enable surfacing works to be carried out.

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For further information about the project visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coastroad

Residents who have any queries can contact the Council’s project team on (0191) 427 7000 or email [email protected]