Pulborough landslide: renewed plea to heed road closed signs, barriers and follow official diversion

A renewed plea has been made by West Sussex County Council for people to please heed ‘road closed’ warning signs and safety barriers installed following the A29 Pulborough landslide.

Highways officers have seen evidence that the heavy-duty metal fencing and other safety barriers – put up for everyone’s protection – have been tampered with to try to avoid the road closure.

Geo-technical experts have assessed the embankments and advised it is not safe to reopen the road to vehicles and pedestrians. A recent examination of the embankments showed further material has slipped on the landslide side, with some on the embankment opposite, too.

Joy Dennis, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I ask all road users to please heed our ‘road closed’ warning signs and safety barriers, which are in place for everyone’s safety.

“I understand people’s frustrations with the diversion, but what would we tell people if we reopened the A29 too early, against expert advice, and given that land has slipped once, caused this road closure, and been found to have moved again? If someone was injured on the pavement or road below, what should we say to that person in hospital, or, heaven forbid, if someone died – what would we tell the family? It doesn’t bear contemplating.”Joy said everything possible was being done so the road could be reopened as quickly as possible – but only when safe to do so.

“Identifying the safest, best all-round solution and then carrying out the repair work will take time in this complex situation.

“The land that has slipped is not owned by the County Council and we are continuing to work closely with the landowners involved, so officers and our specialist contractors can fully design the solution.

“Meanwhile, I would also ask road users to please follow the official diversion route.“We have improved diversion route signage, including electronic signs at key locations. Additional inspection assessments are being carried on other local roads, identifying safety issues for repair, acknowledging these roads are regrettably being used as informal diversion routes/cut throughs, despite the signed, official route.

“Many pothole repairs on the local roads have already been completed as a priority, with more to follow as soon as possible.”

A dedicated incident page has been set up on the County Council’s website where people can find regular detailed updates