Upgrading Lizard Lane to replace Coast Road link between South Shields and Whitburn mooted as possible long-term solution to coastal erosion threat
Highways chiefs could re-purpose an existing road to replace another one threatened by crumbling cliffs.
Bosses at South Tyneside Council hope that shifting part of the existing A138 Coast Road inland near the Marsden lime kilns could temporarily protect it from coastal erosion and add up to 50 years to its life.
But they have also accepted this can only be a stopgap measure and are also considering longer term upgrades to the highways network in the area, which could see major work on Lizard Lane.
“Obviously, permanent solutions need to be looked at,” said Ian Guard, a project manager at the borough council.
“But the report advised that the local realignment that we are progressing with needed to begin with immediate effect to avoid an emergency closure situation.
“It said that wider long term solutions were not able to be developed in the time scales needed to before this would become a closure issue on the Coast Road, but we do accept that the way that permanent solutions need to be looked at.”
Guard was speaking at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Riverside Community Area Forum (CAF), which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.
He added ‘other routes’ were also being considered alongside Lizard Lane, which runs roughly parallel to the A138 Coast Road between Whitburn and Marsden.
Upgrading Lizard Lane to an ‘A class’ road suitable to replace the existing Coast Road would be expected to prove a huge project, both in financial cost and the impact on nearby families and businesses, as well as other road users.
However, while moving the road may secure against coastal erosion, concerns have also been raised about the impact of Marsden Quarry on future projects.
Opposition Green Party councillor David Francis said: “If you see aerial photographs of how deep the quarry is, how close it is to the road and how close the other side of the road is to the to the cliffs and the city, forgive the bad joke, but you’re between some rocks and a hard place.
“The quarry aspect has to be looked into in more detail and I’m curious to know how confident you are of the projected 50 year lifespan of this, because it does look on the map like a fairly small adjustment.”