Highways teams from West Sussex County Council continue to deal with a “complex” landslide that has closed a main road for weeks.

The A29 at Pulborough had to be closed when an embankment collapsed on December 28.

West Sussex County Council said it is making “every effort” to re-open the road as soon as possible, but that the landslide has got worse.

Councillor Joy Dennis, the county council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We totally understand the frustration of residents, business owners and other road users, facing a lengthy diversion route, and would like to assure them we are making every effort to re-open the road as soon as possible – but that can only be done once it is safe to do so.

“The issues involved are complex and the landslide occurred at the narrowest part of the A29, where both sides are flanked by steep embankments.

“Geo-technical experts have assessed the embankments and advised it is not safe to reopen the road to vehicles and pedestrians – we must adhere to this expert advice as safety has to be our number one priority.”

The Argus:  Aerial picture showing landslide impact on the embankment Aerial picture showing landslide impact on the embankment (Image: West Sussex County Council)

The council said both embankments have moved and worsened since the original road closure.

The western side has seen more material join the pile of debris on the highway and the eastern side, which the council has “significant concerns with”, has shown signs of slippage and material deposited on the carriageway.

“Sadly, it is not a simple matter of clearing debris – we have been advised that disturbing material from the embankments could further undermine them and make the situation far worse," said Cllr Dennis.

“Trees are at risk of being brought down and there is the added complication of a sewer drain in the embankment, which has been damaged in the landslide.

“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 complete their assessments and fully design the solution that will enable the road to be reopened.”

Additional inspection assessments are being carried on other local roads.

Other action taken by highways teams and contractors since the landslide on December 28 includes:

  • Establishing the road closure and diversion
  • Improving diversion route signage, including electronic signs at key locations
  • Engineers and specialist contractors are scoping potential solutions
  • Further surveys are being undertaken to assess the damage to the embankments and develop options to resolve the situation.

A dedicated web page has been set up with the latest information: www.westsussex.gov.uk/a29-pulborough