An important step towards reopening the Dearne Valley Bypass was taken this week when specialist testing work was carried on an underpass severely damaged by arsonists.
In July, a section of the A635 Dearne Valley bypass near Goldthorpe was closed due to a car being deliberately set on fire in an underpass. This criminal act resulted in significant structural damage to the underpass roof. Further continued vandalism since this incident has hampered our efforts to reopen the road.
The closure of the bypass was essential to ensure public safety. The risk is that the underpass could collapse with the weight of traffic due to the potential of damage which cannot be seen within the structure.
Comprehensive inspections and testing using specialist equipment were needed to assess the structural integrity of the bridge. Testing using specialist equipment could not begin until the site was secured
Unfortunately, continued vandalism has held up this process several times. Our Highways Team secured both the Phoenix Park entrance and Lockwood Road entrance on multiple occasions with security fencing so the testing could be completed safely. However, the fence has been repeatedly attacked by vandals.
Additional security measures were put in place each time to secure the site, including extra reinforcing and bracing, along with welding extra metal plates to the fencing. We’ve been working closely with our Safer Neighbourhood and Policing Team to increase patrols in this area to prevent even more delays.
This week, the testing has been carried out and we will now await a report to outline the options for reopening the bypass safely.
Cllr James Higginbottom, Cabinet Spokesperson for Environment and Highways, said: “We understand the closure of the bypass is frustrating to all, however, these delays are a result of criminal activity.
“This ongoing vandalism has caused unplanned delays by preventing us from securing the site to make it safe for residents, our Highways Team, and contractors to carry out these inspections.
“We’d greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we work towards repairing the underpass and reopening the bypass as soon as possible. The safety and well-being of road and underpass users are our utmost priority.
“I encourage people to visit barnsley.gov.uk/GoldthorpeBypassClosure for regular progress updates.”