Work is getting under way to repair a retaining wall alongside one of Plymouth’s busiest roads.
The masonry wall below Cheltenham Place (off Greenbank Road) was barriered off after part of it collapsed in autumn 2015 and the footway has been out of bounds ever since.
Despite considerable efforts the Council has been unable to establish ownership of the wall and responsibility for its maintenance so is now taking action to get it repaired and re-open the footway.
Councillor Steve Ricketts, Cabinet Member for Transport and Housing Delivery, said: “This wall has been a concern for some time and now needs to be completely replaced. An ongoing lack of maintenance has led to water build-up and vegetation growth within the joints and it is in a very sorry state.
“Ownership of the wall is unclear but we cannot leave it as it is and it is not acceptable to keep the public footpath closed indefinitely on such a busy route, so we are doing the responsible thing and getting the work done.
“As well as making the wall safe in the immediate term, we are taking the opportunity to safeguard its longer-term stability and prevent the risk of future collapse and disruption.”
The repair programme, which will take around 14 weeks, will include:
• A brand new wall, made from more modern and attractive materials
• A new drainage system in front of steps at west end of wall and porous fill material behind the wall
• New concrete units along Cheltenham Place to provide safety ‘restraint’ for vehicles
• A new pedestrian parapet along Cheltenham Place
• A new handrail down the steps at the west end of the wall
• Road resurfacing in Cheltenham Place
It will eliminate the risk of further collapses into Greenbank Road and significantly prolong the life expectancy of the wall, as well as provide safer pedestrian and vehicle access to Cheltenham Place.
Most of the work will be finished before the start of the new university term and its impact on traffic will be limited, with only minor disruption when materials are delivered to or collected from the site.
SWH Group will be carrying out the works, valued at £280,000, under the Plymouth Highways contract.
A SWH Group representative said: “SWH Group is aware that this is a busy public footpath and will be working efficiently with Plymouth City Council to guarantee the route is renovated with long-term stability and safety as its focal points.
“Whilst the work is taking place, we will aim to cause as little disruption as possible and ensure the public footpath is visually appealing.”