INVESTIGATIONS are continuing on a section of road in Gower where fears of the presence of sinkholes have forced an immediate road closure.
Swansea Council recently closed a section of the main A4118 road near Oxwich so that contractors and geotechnical experts could survey the affected road and establish the extent of the repairs needed.
Diversions are now in place to maintain travel for motorists including routes to and from South Gower locations such as Port Eynon and Oxwich.
Initial work involved the drilling of boreholes so camera equipment could be inserted under the road. The latest work on-site has involved the excavation of the road surface across the entire width of the road and investigations are continuing to determine the exact location of voids which have likely been created by water.
Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Enhancement and Infrastructure Management said: “We are still in the early stages of our investigations to establish how serious the problem is.
“Our main concern is for the safety of motorists and others that use this route, so the immediate closure has been absolutely vital, not only to protect the public but to enable contractors to move on site quickly and carry out the work needed.
“We have a geotechnical expert onsite also who is providing expertise in terms of what is beneath the road and how we need to proceed with our investigations.”
John Stark from Quantum Geotechnic said: “The ground investigations undertaken have highlighted some voids quite shallow beneath the highway. Opening up the road will now make it easier for us to establish the extent of these voids.
“Depending on what we find during the investigations we will then look at designing remedial measures so the road can be reopened.
“Sinkholes and subsidence are quite common in this area particularly because of the limestone in the ground – this erodes over time when water is running through it and that’s why voids are created.
“This section of road is also in a natural hollow in terms of the immediate surrounding area so it’s not a surprise that these issues are here and have been identified.”