THE A40 between Huntley and Lea is finally reopening this week as a major project to rebuild the carriageway following a landslip nears completion.
National Highways announced earlier today (Thursday, February 23) that the road will partially reopen tomorrow (Friday, February 24) for the first time since August.
It follows £3.5 million works to repair a collapsed embankment and relay the carriageway near Glasshouse Lane at Dursley Cross.
The reopening will no doubt be welcomed by locals, with the six-month closure of the major route connecting the Forest with Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye having disrupted daily travel for thousands of commuters and HGVs.
The closure also saw several local businesses take a big hit in passing trade, with Phil Kiernan, who owns The Farmers Boy in Longhope, saying in November that his business was missing out on an average of £3,000 a week, with no compensation available.
On how the closure has affected trade recently, Phil said: “It’s been the worst thing in over 22 years that has happened to our business.
“Soul destroying if I’m honest.”
Following the landslip last year, the A40 eastbound carriageway was initially closed with temporary traffic signals to enable assessment and survey work and the reduction of water levels.
The road has been fully closed since August between Saunders Close and Sterrys Lane to enable contractors South West Highways (Eurovia) to undertake the complex second phase of the scheme to reconstruct the embankment and carriageway.
During the 24/7 closure, local traffic has been diverted via the A4136 to Longhope and the B4224 to rejoin the A40, with HGVs and through traffic diverted via the A417 to Bromsbarrow and the M50 to Ross-on-Wye.
From tomorrow, subject to weather conditions, National Highways will reopen the eastbound carriageway with two-way traffic signals in place until replanting and de-mobilisation work is completed.
This work is scheduled to finish next month, at which point all traffic management will be removed.
National Highways says the £3.5 million scheme "will ensure this part of the A40 remains safe for local residents and the travelling public for the foreseeable future."
Geotechnical Engineering Team manager Guy Swains said: “We’re delighted that we are finally able to reopen this vital stretch of road following the landslide that occurred here two years ago.
“Thanks to the ‘design and build’ nature of the partnership with South West Highways, we were able to move straight from design into construction, saving valuable time and helping us to complete the work as quickly as possible.
“We appreciate the roadworks and diversions have been frustrating but it was essential we carried out this complex repair work under a full closure for safety.
“Throughout the work, we ensured we communicated with local businesses and residents and we thank all drivers for their co-operation and patience throughout.”
David King, Operations Manager for Eurovia, added: “It’s been a privilege to work on this complex stabilisation project, and we appreciate the patience of the local residents, local businesses and users of the A40.
“The project has certainly had its challenges in terms of weather and restricted site access, but we're delighted to have overcome these to deliver the scheme on time and within budget.”