Release date: 2 February 2024
Work needed to re-open West Chiltington Road at Panners Drive is scheduled to start on Monday (5 February).
The road was closed in the run-up to Christmas following the collapse of a culvert that runs under the carriageway, causing significant damage to the road surface and flooding.
Investigation and remedial works were planned for the first week of January. However, persistent, heavy rainfall meant the volume of water in the area was so high that it was neither practical nor safe to start the works. Drainage specialists also advised that the volume of water was too significant to pump and control.
A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “Closing a road is always the last resort but was essential for public safety.
“The closure has meant an inspection and assessment of the area could take place to establish what remedial works are required and to plan how they will be carried out.
“Last weekend (27/28 January), which followed a period of drier weather, we were able to excavate a trench to divert water away from the affected culvert and works area.”
With the water diverted, work started on Monday (29 January) at the failed area of carriageway, with the aim of exposing this and the culvert to find the cause of the issue.
“Our contractors managed to expose the collapsed culvert and removed a large tree stump found within which had caused water to build up, weakening the culvert and washing out the road structure.
“The contractors also found that another, 2 to 3metre section of the culvert has failed and no longer offers any structural support.”
Starting on Monday, some of the work needed before the road can be reopened includes:
- Using a dam to stop all water ingress to the works area, supported by an industrial pump, where required.
- Excavating and removing the entire length of the failed culvert, with some of this work having to be done by hand due to the number and close proximity of utility services.
- Replacing the culvert with a polymer pipe
- Localised repairs to an existing foul sewer that appears to have been historically damaged and temporarily repaired.
- Re-grading the ditch and land on the western side of West Chiltington Road to ensure the water can flow away from the culvert and into the local ditch/stream network.
- Clearing all gully and drainage assets in the area to ensure they are fully operational.
- Reinstating all excavations with full-depth carriageway construction.
The county council spokesperson added: “Subject to unforeseen factors, the work will start on Monday but, because of the complexity of what is required, we are unable to provide a completion date at this time but will keep key stakeholders informed as work progresses.
“We ask for people’s understanding and patience as we understand the inconvenience the road closure has caused and apologise for this. Please be assured the work will be completed as quickly as is safe to do so.”
We urge those undertaking journeys in the area to plan additional time for their trips. There is no access between Pulborough and West Chiltington via West Chiltington Road and we urge drivers to refrain from moving the barriers and attempting to travel down this stretch of road.
Diversion route signage has been put up at strategic points. The route is:
Harborough Hill to The Common to Mill Road (North)
The Hollow to Broadford Bridge Road to Adversane Lane (West)
Stane St A29 (South) to Lower Street A283 (East)
Mare Hill Road to West Chiltington Road.