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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Bus chief disgusted at 14-week Carlisle road closure

A bus firm boss says it’s disgusting that roads chiefs have approved a potential 14-week closure along part of a key route into Carlisle.

Bryan Craig photo
Bryan Craig

The shutdown on Dalston Road, between its Cummersdale and Peter Lane junctions, comes into force today.

It’s being put in place as work begins on a new sewer system for a major new housing development on land alongside the busy road. But questions are being asked as to why the closure needs to be in place.

And there are some who fear the work will lead to delays and frustration as drivers have to find another way around to avoid a small stretch of road.

Those heading to Dalston into Carlisle and workers trying to reach the Pirelli tyre factory are among those who will have to endure an alternative route.

George Irving, from coach company Irving of Dalston, said: “It’s disgusting. They've just sprung it on us at the last minute. I do not know why they need to close the whole road. And for that long.

"Why can't they close one side and put lights on? We only found out about it last week. They are saying for up to 14 weeks. That's three-and-a-half months."

Mr Irving said it would affect a lot of people travelling into the city from the west of Carlisle and schoolchildren travelling to and from school. It would also affect people living in Morton who will find extra traffic passing through the area.

"We pick up schoolchildren from Cummersdale. We are going to have to go from Dalston, down Wigton Road, through Morton, up to Cummersdale then all the way back again, twice a day every day," he added. There are some, however, who have defended the necessity for the scheme as works gets underway for property firm Charles Church to start its 103-home Clover Fields project.

Cumbria County Council, which approved the road closure, says its highways team will do all it can to ensure traffic flows smoothly during the closure, but admits disruption is “unavoidable” and has apologised for any inconvenience caused.

A spokesman said: “The closure is necessary in order to protect the safety of the public and contractors during the works.

“Installing the new sewer is expected to take 14 weeks and we hope to reopen the road with traffic controls once the works progress towards the site and the road becomes wide enough to allow single lane traffic.

“However, the timing of the reopening will depend on how well the works progress and the council is working closely with the developer in order to ensure they are carried out as quickly as possible.”

A signed diversion via Peter Lane and Wigton Road will be in place throughout the works.

Access will be maintained into Cummersdale from the city at all times with the use of traffic lights.

The Peter Lane junction will not be affected and a way through Dalston Road for pedestrians and dismounted cyclists will be maintained at all times.

Although there’s frustration from some who fear traffic in Morton could be heavily affected, John Bell, a city councillor for the area, said: “It has to be done. If you don’t do it that way, if you do it bit by bit, how long is it going to be?

“Things like this do take time but unfortunately they have to be done.”

Clover Fields is a development of high-end homes which is part of a highly-anticipated building boom in the Morton area.

The first houses there are expected to be sold in July. There will be a mixture of three, four and five-bedroom properties.

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