27 January 2015

Essential structural works complete beneath Brighton’s A259 seafront road

Essential structural works on Brighton’s seafront, needed to rectify a partially-collapsed arch beneath, are due to be completed this week.

Currently the works at the King’s Road junction with West Street mean one lane westbound is closed to accommodate the cycle lane and footway.  Previously a contraflow had been in place, affecting road traffic.  There have been partial closures of the north or south side of the dual carriageway since the road collapsed in April last year.

All road works at the site, pictured below, should be removed by the end of Thursday, January 29.

Engineers discovered the hole was caused by the failure of historic alterations to the structure, which provided a fire escape route between a fish and chip shop and the Fortune of War public house beneath the road. Further inspections also revealed structural deterioration in the adjacent Life Bar, which is also a private property.

Strengthening and repair works have now reached a stage where the lane closure is no longer needed, as weak areas have been rebuilt to make the structure safe.   

Officials say although it has been a complicated and lengthy closure, the council has done all it can to minimise its effect on drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, while keeping them safe, Any alterations to the traffic management have been made when needed, to maintain traffic flow and road safety.

Meanwhile works are continuing to rebuild a row of 33 new seafront arches beneath the A259 further west.  This is part of a large, long term investment programme to restore the seafront arches.  It will ensure they can support the current highway loadings from the road above for the next 120 years.  Works require the upper prom and cycle lane to be closed along a 100m stretch.  The road itself is unaffected.

When complete the arches will be used for commercial premises, storage and beach chalets.  In a previous phase, 26 arches were rebuilt and turned into retail outlets and new public toilets.  The scheme has regenerated a once run-down area of the seafront.

Lead councillor for transport Ian Davey said:  “It was an unlucky co-incidence that the Fortune of War hole appeared at the same time we were rebuilding the arches further west.  But it demonstrates how important it is to renew the arches and this is the first time the council has really bitten the bullet on this since they were built over 100 years ago.  Without the works we’re doing now, such collapses would become common and road closures more regular.”