Resurfacing the steepest A road in England

A challenging engineering scheme to resurface one of the steepest hills in the country is due to start next month.

The A39 at Porlock Hill is reportedly the steepest A road in England and has a gradient of 1 in 4 (25 per cent) in places.

As part of Somerset County Council’s planned maintenance programme, the road will be improved by laying a new modern road surface with a high skid resistance along the length of the hill.

Specialist equipment and techniques will be required including use of an integrated paver and all-terrain forklift with tracks. Temporary safety barriers will also be in place during the works to safeguard the workzone and nearby properties.

Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “There’s routine road maintenance and then there’s routine road maintenance on a hill with a 1 in 4 gradient.

“Clearly this is no ordinary resurfacing job and will require some specialist equipment as well as harnessing all the expertise and experience of our highways team.

“We’re fully committed to keeping our roads in the best possible condition – no matter how challenging this might be.”

Work is due to start on Monday 6 March and take two weeks. For the first week the road will need to be fully closed 24/7 due to the need for safety barriers and because a temporary road surface would not be suitable due to the gradient.

The road will reopen for the weekend and will then be closed from 7.30am to 5.30pm from Monday to Friday for the completion of the works.

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