That sinking feeling

Posted on 28th March 2012 | in Community , Heritage & Tourism

The recent subsidence in the A1068 at Hauxley Moorhouse Farm is likely to be due to old mine workings, The Ambler has learned. However, until responsibility can be established, Northumberland County Council Highways team will continue to monitor the site.

Andy Craig, Northern Area Maintenance Engineer for NCC, told The Ambler that the structures team at County Hall had carried out tests and had been monitoring the road for some time. “We think we’ve determined it’s mine workings, but we need the Coal Authority to admit it’s their responsibility.”

A spokesman for the National Coal Authority said: “We are working with the County Council who are monitoring the road. The Coal Authority will commence investigations over the next few weeks.” He estimated that their investigations would take about a month.

Andy reassured drivers that the road is unlikely to open up and swallow traffic whole. “It wouldn’t sink like a well; the road will subside very much as it is doing. We have repaired the surface a couple of times recently and we could do the same again one lane at a time.”

However, Lee Baxter, Northumberland County Council’s Highways Inspector for the Northern Area, told The Ambler that if the subsidence is due to mine workings, then serious repairs might need to be carried out. “If it is what we think it is, then the whole road might have to be shut and we would have to put up a diversion.”

On a related subject, residents of Hauxley have noticed part of the links road is being rapidly covered by sand.

Iain Robson from Northumberland AONB told us: “Dunes are a mobile system and are always on the move. When dunes want to move back, but something is stopping them, it is known as coastal squeeze. Dunes are our best defence against coastal erosion. In an ideal world, we would move the road because, if left alone, it will eventually disappear.”

A Northumberland County Council Highways spokesman said they were aware of the situation and would send a road sweeper.
Anna Williams