Kirkstone Pass resurfacing works completed for bank holiday weekend

Latest works have been completed on a multi-million road safety scheme on an iconic Lakeland pass – meaning the route will be open for the Bank Holiday weekend and ready for the school summer holidays.

Kirkstone Pass re-opened this week following resurfacing to complete works on the north side of the pass.

The new road surface was the finishing touch on this part of the complex and challenging 14 month project, designed to make the pass safer and better protected from flooding and other weather-related impacts.

Making the route safer for road users and less prone to closures in the future helps local communities and businesses that rely on the route and is good news for the many people who visit the area to appreciate one of the most popular areas of the Lake District.

The improvements – which have included better road drainage, installing new gullies and ‘catch-pits’ to catch scree washed off the fells, new lay-bys and signage and the fitting of new wooden-clad environment sensitive safety crash barriers – are part of a £7.4 million Department for Transport (DfT) ‘Safer Roads Project’, being delivered by Westmorland and Furness Council, to upgrade and improve the safety of the A592.

Other works under the project included resurfacing along the route from Windermere to the A66 near Rheged, carried out in 2022 and 2023.

The Kirkstone Pass part of the scheme has been undertaken in a challenging location, with the route being one of the highest roads in the Lake District climbing to an altitude of nearly 1,500 feet. It often suffers the impacts of severe weather and, due to narrow and restricted access, much of the work has required road closures, which have been carefully scheduled to minimise disruption and planned to avoid the busiest holiday periods.

Heavy snowfalls in December and severe storms Isha and Jocelyn in January, which saw the pass closed to all vehicles during the worst of the winter weather, made it impossible for contractors to work on the scheme, resulting in some delays finishing resurfacing.

Now the north side resurfacing has been completed, the very last part of the scheme, to resurface parts of the southern end of the pass, will be scheduled for later in the year after the summer holidays. This will require a further short closure but road users will still be able to travel between Windermere/Ambleside and Glenridding via a diversion route.

Councillor Peter Thornton, Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet member for Highways and Assets, said: “This has been a complex project in a difficult and restricted location, subject to some extreme weather-related challenges. It is excellent to see works now completed on the northern end of the pass in time for the busiest holiday periods.

“We have been working closely with the local community and businesses in the area to try to minimise disruption caused by this essential safety work, and I want to thank them for their support and patience.

“I’d also like to thank our contractors, Metcalfe’s, for their diligent work and flexibility, that has resulted in minimal delays despite being subjected to all that a Lake District winter could throw at them!

“We were able to complete some of the works under traffic light controls but some elements, such as installing new drainage, which involved excavating the full width of the carriageway, required the road to be closed to vehicles.

“The improvements will make the road safer and better protected from flooding and weather-related impacts, making the route more resilient in the future, which will ultimately benefit the local communities and businesses.’’

The wooden-clad crash barriers on Kirkstone Pass are the first of their type on a major road in Cumbria.

Kirkstone Pass is in the heart of the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and great care has been taken to ensure the safety improvement works included new infrastructure to complement the stunning surroundings.

Road users are reminded to continue to travel safely over the Pass following the resurfacing and improvement works.



More information about the Safer Roads scheme at Kirkstone Pass, including answers to frequently asked questions, can be found at Safer roads – A592 | Westmorland and Furness Council

Videos explaining more about the scheme:

Drone footage highlighting key issues being addressed

Footage showing contractors’ work on Kirkstone Pass

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