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media release
Brighton and Hove City Council
20 August 2014

Seafront diversion update

Following further investigations, we are sorry to announce that the work to repair the seafront arches near West Street is going to take longer than anticipated. We are now estimating that the works will not be complete until early November.

Structural engineers have been working with the property owners to assess the extent of a number of different problems, which are not contained to just one arch. We are working hard with contractors to design safe solutions in some privately owned arches. Finalising and agreeing an acceptable design before any works are carried out is essential, if those businesses are to be able to carrying on trading. It is unfortunate that a main sewer has also collapsed nearby, although this is not connected with the arches properties.

Traffic diversions in place

A contra flow is in place for the short distance between Middle Street and West Street so that traffic can move in both directions.

  • Drivers travelling eastbound on the A259 can turn North up West Street
  • Drivers travelling westbound on the A259 cannot turn up West Street
  • On West Street the road down from the Clock Tower is closed
  • You can use Cannon Place to access Churchill Square car parks
  • Regency Square car park is available as usual

Please allow extra time for journeys through this area and check this page for further updates.

What’s happening now?

The area is closed off to protect the public and the vulnerable areas below the road while the necessary investigation and design work under the road is being carried out.  Allowing traffic to continue to cross the weaker areas would damage them further and create greater risk and danger.

When will the work on the King’s Road collapse be completed?

There are three separate sets of work that are required.  The complex nature of the repairs needed means the first set of works associated with the collapse in the Fortune of War pub should be finished in early October.  This is the weak area under the road which is affecting the eastbound carriageway.

The second set of road works is Southern Water’s emergency work to repair a collapsed/blocked sewage waste pipe at the junction of the A259/Black Lion Street are underway.  These works have also taken longer than anticipated due to unforeseen problems and are now understood will be fully completed and the junction reinstated by mid-September.

A third set of works required to strengthen the structure of the Life Bar property within the Arches will begin after the first set of works are complete, and will need the contra-flow traffic management arrangement to be moved onto the westbound carriageway.

At all times, the main road has remained partially open, and will continue to do so throughout any works, by operating with a contraflow.

All the necessary works to make the road and properties safe should be complete by early November.

What measures have been taken to improve traffic flow while the area is fenced off?

We have removed a section of central reservation to improve access into the Old Town area via Middle Street and amending traffic signal timings so these measures will improve traffic flows.

Has the reason for the original collapse of material been established?

The wall between the Fortune of War and the Beach Break Café is part of the arch structure itself, which supports the road and pavement above it.  The material collapsed where some internal alterations had previously been made to this wall (possibly over 30 years ago).  The work that was done at this time has subsequently failed, but this was only discovered when the wood panelling used to decorate the inside of the Fortune of War in this location was removed by builders, and the loose material above fell in.

Has the integrity of the arch itself at the collapse point been maintained?

This area has been made safe, and the design is being checked to ensure that all the adjacent arches will also be safe.

How much is the repair work expected to have cost upon completion?

It is not possible to estimate this until the more detailed analysis has been fully completed.

Will further exploratory work to investigate the state of the other seaside arches be carried out?

This type of work is undertaken as a matter of course by the council, at least every 2 years for a full inspection as well as annual, visual surveys.